Scottish theatre draws inspiration from all over the world – North America, England, Ireland, and continental Europe. And although Scottish theatre mainly has Western influences and tradition, it has also drawn inspiration from other, more exotic, cultures.

From being performed only within the confines of Scotland itself, the plays originally conceived here soon found a global audience due to mass migration in the modern period. And migration into Scotland gave the local theatre a whole new audience – and new themes to be explored on stage.

The history of Scottish theatre takes us all the way to the Middle Ages. In the early 1700s Scottish-themed plays dominated the theatre in Scotland. Two plays from those times still popular today are The Gentle Shepherd by Allan Ramsay (1725) and Douglas by John Home (1756).

There are numerous theatrical institutions in Scotland, the most notable of which are the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, and the Citizens Theatre of Glasgow. Alumni of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland include well-known performers and directors Robert Carlyle, Tom Conti, Sheena Easton, Daniela Nardini, John Hannah, Phyllis Logan, Hannah Gordon, and Ian McDiarmid.

Dramas in Scotland include the following categories:

  • Folk Plays
  • Renaissance drama
  • Restoration drama
  • 18th Century plays
  • 19th Century plays
  • 20th Century plays

Read on to find out more about the rich history of Scottish theatre through the ages, learn about famous Scottish playwrights, or discover the story of the very original contributions by the National Theatre of Scotland. You can also get some good tips to ensure you enjoy your night at the theatre, and see what the good shows are currently playing across the country.