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About Arts Alive

Arts Alive is a new pilot programme for schools delivered by Scottish Book Trust, in collaboration with Scotland's National Performing Companies.

Applications for Arts Alive are currently closed please contact arts.alive@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) for any enquiries.

Arts Alive can support you to put the expressive arts at the heart of your school.

Schools across Scotland can apply for part-funded workshops, visits and talks from artists from the National Performing Companies (the National Theatre of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra).

Schools experiencing cost as a barrier to working with artists can also apply for fully funded artist residencies from the National Companies, including a specially produced residency with a team from Scottish Opera.

Arts Alive will provide high-quality professional arts experiences for young people, shown to contribute to improved confidence, wellbeing and narrowing the attainment gap. Funded schools and artists are welcome to plan remote, digital, distanced and in-person activity that best fits the needs of the school community and any restrictions on activity in school.

To find out more about the benefits of the programme first-hand, read about the schools and artists taking part in our 2021 Arts Alive residencies.

The programme will support artists to: be paid for events and workshops, have the opportunity to develop their practice, have the value of their work advocated. Arts Alive sits alongside the hugely successful Live Literature(this will open in a new window) programme, which has connected authors and audiences in communities across Scotland for almost 50 years.

From January–May 2021, artists from the National Companies will deliver:

The 2020–21 Arts Alive pilot programme is funded by the Scottish Government and Education Scotland and delivered in partnership with the National Performing Companies:

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland:

“We are delighted to be part of Arts Alive, this enlightened new initiative from Scottish Book Trust alongside the other National Performing Companies. The National Theatre of Scotland believes that participation in cultural activity and the chance to develop a life-long love of the arts are opportunities that should be made available to every child in Scotland. The idea of placing theatre-makers and creatives within schools to share the art form they love is an inspired way of trying to achieve this ambition.”

Laura Baxter, RSNO Head of Learning and Engagement:

“Our musicians love working with schools and young people to explore the power of creative arts and music. Arts Alive is an exciting project to be a part of, and it is coming at a time when pupils will really benefit from working directly with artists who can provide so much support for learning, mental health and wellbeing. Young people coped so admirably with the lockdowns and challenges of 2020, and we can’t wait to reconnect with pupils and teachers across Scotland and celebrate making music again.”

Sara Kemal, Scottish Ballet’s Special Programmes Manager:

“We are excited to be working with Scottish Book Trust, in collaboration with the National Performing Companies on Arts Alive. Scottish Ballet will continue their work with young people by offering workshops inspired by Safe to Be Me; their innovative programme that uses dance to tackle challenging subjects such as racism, homophobia, bigotry, ableism and transphobia. This will coincide with workshops from The Nutcracker, alongside inspirational talks from Scottish Ballet dancers.”

Kirsteen Davidson Kelly, Scottish Chamber Orchestra Creative Learning Director:

“The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is delighted to be part of the Arts Alive initiative to connect young people with the arts. We know that music can engage us cognitively, physically, and emotionally, and SCO Creative Learning workshops harness these qualities to help participants of all ages and abilities develop creativity and confidence, and to enhance wellbeing. In these challenging times we want more than ever to use music’s positive powers to help schools flourish, and we look forward to bringing our wonderful musicians and workshop leaders into schools through the Arts Alive programme.”

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s Director of Education and Outreach:

“We are delighted to be a part of Scottish Book Trust’s Arts Alive programme. This is an exciting new initiative and our contribution is a project designed specifically for Primary Schools called ‘Creating a Song Cycle’. It will encourage young singers and songwriters to create, perform and record a set of their very own songs to reflect on issues that are important to them, their school and their community. Pupils get to work with our team of practitioners including composer Alan Penman and singer Andy McTaggart.”


For all programme and application enquiries, email arts.alive@scottishbooktrust.com.

Please direct all media requests to PR and Marketing Manager: keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window).

The 2020-21 Arts Alive pilot programme is supported by:

And delivered in partnership with: