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S2 Ep5: Physically distanced, socially connected

Created in partnership with National Theatre of Scotland

This episode is hosted by Lewis Hetherington of National Theatre of Scotland who brings together six people who have been participants in creative work during the pandemic. The group explores their experiences of taking part in creative activity during the pandemic, and the positive impacts it had on them while in lockdown.


With thanks to National Theatre of Scotland partners:

Coming Back Out Ball
A National Theatre of Scotland and All The Queens Men co-production, in partnership with Eden Court and Luminate in association with Glasgow City Council.

Holding/ Holding On
Presented by National Theatre of Scotland as part of Care in Contemporary Scotland – A Creative Enquiry, written by Nicola McCartney

Non Optimum: When It’s Safe To Do So
Presented by National Theatre of Scotland as part of Care in Contemporary Scotland – A Creative Enquiry, created by Lucy Gaizely/21Common

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Guest biographies

Charlotte Armitage

Charlotte Armitage

Charlotte Armitage is a Care Experienced young woman, and second year History and Sociology student at the University of Glasgow. Prior to university, Charlotte worked at Who Cares? Scotland. Much of her work at Who Cares? Scotland focused on the exploration of the history of care in Scotland and unheard Care Experienced groups, including Care Experienced parents. Within this role, Charlotte was responsible for launching the first Care Experienced History Month, which was celebrated around the world in April 2021. Now working for the Scottish Parliament, Charlotte has maintained her interest in the history of care through her degree and remains firm in her belief that in order to move forward for Care Experienced people in the present, we must acknowledge, accept and learn from the systematic oppression, abuse and mistreatment of Care Experienced people in the past.

Carrie Bates (she/her)

Carrie Bates (she/her)

Carrie has had a wonderfully varied career of employment and self-employment which included long spells of being a news and current affairs sound engineer, holistic massage practitioner specialising in physical and emotional trauma and community development outreach work encouraging and supporting vulnerable individuals and groups to achieve some of their dreams and live more satisfying lives. Throughout her life she has always been passionate about equality and social justice for everyone.

Carrie loved being a Coming Back Out Ball (CBOB) participant at the Elder’s LGBTI+ Social Dance Clubs in person and online.  During the project she took part in, and thoroughly enjoyed, all the extra activities on zoom (CBOB community forum, chat groups, creating a rap song with Karen Dunbar, her desert island disco tracks, cookery classes, embroidery, origami, writing poetry, group videos – sending messages for the LGBTI+ youth group, for people in care homes, Little Bird choreographed dance for the online Ball) and promoted CBOB in Radio Scotland interviews. She was photographed for the Portraits of an LGBTI+ Generation exhibition which was shown at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.

Her home has been near Inverness for the last 25 years. As an older lesbian, CBOB dramatically widened her LGBTI+ circle of friends and rekindled her enjoyment in dancing. Carrie loves her campervan and frequently goes exploring / visiting friends around the UK.

Stewart Gow (he/him)

Stewart Gow (he/him)

Stewart, 60, is part of the LGBTI+ elder’s community from Glasgow, a retired Office Manager/ Payroll Manager / Bookkeeper.

Born in Perth Scotland he has lived in Johannesburg South Africa, London, Essex, and Blairgowrie and now in Glasgow.

Stewart was one of a group of members of the LGBTI+ elder’s community to have taken part in the magnificent Coming Back Out Ball run by National Theatre of Scotland and partners. A marvellous and beautiful experience that will be very fondly remembered for many years to come.

Lewis Hetherington

Lewis Hetherington

Lewis Hetherington is an award winning playwright and performance maker. His work is rooted in story and collaboration, and he is passionate about creating space for audiences and artists to imagine new ways to be in the world.

He is a founder of fieldwork performance, whose work includes QWERK: A festival of international queer plays, and Dear Green Place: a participatory project about the Climate Crisis in North East Glasgow. He is an Associate Artist with The PappyShow.

His work has travelled extensively across the world, from Singapore, to Saudi Arabia to Shetland.


Kenneth Murray

Kenneth Murray

Kenneth Murray is a writer and public affairs specialist who was born in Glasgow. Kenneth grew up in a single parent household in the East End of Glasgow. During this time he experienced poverty, domestic abuse & homelessness. Kenneth later experienced several years of being in the care system. He currently writes a column for Holyrood Magazine and has written for The SpectatorSTV and The Daily Record.

Kenneth is an award winning campaigner on the media portrayal of Care Experienced people and provided a sensitivity read of the book, The Beaker Girls and consulted on the TV series, My Mum Tracy Beaker.

Kenneth also wrote a short video for BBC The Social on representation of Care Experienced people. He is currently working on a number of screenwriting projects.

Kenneth won the Sheila McKechnie Campaigners Award in 2019 for his work on media portrayal of Care Experienced people.

Peter Sproul

Peter Sproul

Peter is 26 and enjoys being in bands called The Touch Beats and Sensatronic Lab.

During lockdown, Peter wasn’t able to see any of his friends. But since taking part in the National Theatre of Scotland’s Non Optimum: When It Is Safe To Do So project, he has enjoyed being part of the Friday zoom meetings – dancing and chatting and filming at his house. He really has enjoyed being part of this project and hopes everyone enjoyed the film.

Jaqui Smyth

Jaqui Smyth

Jaqui has always loved music from a very early age, dancing around the living room at about 13 months old. Her love of music grew with the need to find out about all her favourite artists. At the age of three, she became interested in computers and was hooked; adored first-person shooters, and watching and learning anything new.

At the age of eight years Jaqui was on holiday in America and decided to jump into the deep end and swam under the water coming up at the other end, got out the pool and did the same again. That was the first day she realised she could swim! Nobody had told her she couldn’t.

She’s in love with being outdoors, and thanks to Free Wheel North, is able to go on a bike if someone else pedals. Parks are another favourite and picnics are a big hit.

Jaqui loves life, people, parties, Drama, and Art. She has sold many paintings at Project Ability and attends the Sensatronic Lab at Touchbase. Concerts are a great love and she has attended TRNSMT since it started in Glasgow. She’s a regular at the SSE hydro, watching all her favourite bands perform.

Jaqui is enamoured by the Abbie Resource Base Support Service, where she currently goes 5 days a week and has a lot of friends there.

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