Literary Contexts: Scottish Plays

A ClickView original series

‘Literary Contexts: Scottish Plays’ is a valuable collection of resources designed for senior secondary students of English and Drama. These videos align with Curriculum for Excellence outcomes for Scottish N5 and Higher English. Use the videos and their accompanying educational resources to provide historical context and deepen the study of these commonly studied Scottish plays.

Why Scottish Plays?

This collection has been designed for the teaching of Scottish plays in National 5 and Higher English and Drama. Here’s why:

  • To provide valuable historical, political and social context to three commonly studied Scottish plays at the National 5 English and Higher levels.
  • To deepen student understanding of the themes and world of each play.
  • To provide real insight into historical context, filling knowledge gaps for students in an accessible way.

Free video series ‘Literary Contexts: Scottish Plays’

A thorough text study also requires a thorough context study. Historical events, political attitudes, societal norms and trends all influence the author or playwright’s literary choices.

Students often do not have the historical knowledge of when plays were written or set to fully understand the themes explored. This collection delves into various historical periods to uncover the beliefs, behaviours and trends that affected life and literature at the time. It provides context on topics including:

  • Italian migration to Scotland
  • The impact of WW1 on the Scottish population
  • The impact of the closure of boat building on particular communities, such as poverty and living conditions in tenements.

There are many advantages to teaching literary contexts through video:

  • Video allows a flexible approach to teaching, encouraging whole-class student discussion.
  • The ability to pause and discuss the content can enhance the assimilation of information.
  • Students can rewatch content in their own time, returning to refresh particular ideas.
  • Accompanying educational resources include questions and answers to reinforce the video content.

Discover all 3 full-length episodes free to share with your students

Each episode comes with a pack of printable supporting resources for your lessons.

episode 1

Sailmaker in Context (N5 Drama and English)

In the early 20th century, Scotland’s shipyards went from being the busiest in the world to relics of the past. This video explains the historical context behind Alan Spence’s ‘Sailmaker’ including:
● Scotland’s industrial transformation and subsequent decline
● Changing gender roles and societal norms
● The Irish-Scottish and Catholic-Protestant divisions.

Play Episode Download lesson resources

episode 2

Men Should Weep in Context (Higher English)

In the 1930s, life for Glaswegians living in tenements was characterised by unemployment, poverty, disease and deprivation. This video explores the historical context behind Ena Lamont Stewart’s ‘Men Should Weep’ including:
● Scotland’s economic decline and depression
● Life in Glasgow tenements
● Changing gender roles and opportunities for women.

Play Episode Download lesson resources

episode 3

Tally’s Blood in Context (N5 Drama and English)

In the early 20th century, Glasgow became home to the third-largest Italian community in the United Kingdom. This video delves into the historical context behind Anne Marie Di Mambro’s ‘Tally’s Blood’ including:
● The reasons for Italian immigration to Scotland
● Scottish patriotism and anti-immigrant prejudice
● Societal structures in Italian-Scots communities.

Play Episode Download lesson resources

Try our interactive videos

See for yourself how ClickView interactive videos work. By incorporating a layer of inbuilt questions or problems to a video, interactives help test and track student understanding. Different question types include completing the missing word, giving a short answer or identifying true or false options.


episode 2

Men Should Weep in Context (interactive)

In this interactive video, students will respond to seven questions testing their understanding of the historical context behind Ena Lamont Stewart’s ‘Men Should Weep’.

Play interactive Download lesson resources
All the Scottish Plays videos are available with interactive questions on ClickView. Sign in to ClickView to view all interactive videos or contact us for a free trial.

What are the post-viewing outcomes for my students?

By watching and interacting with this series, your students will:

  • Better understand the context of the play being studied including beliefs, behaviours and trends that affected life and literature.
  • Extend their understanding of the historical period in which the play was written, bringing themes, characters and issues to life in a more meaningful way.
  • Be able to more deeply analyse the themes and ideas contained in the play, including the playwright’s choice of language.

How can I use the Scottish Plays series in my classroom?

‘Literary Contexts: Scottish Plays’ is designed for senior secondary students of English and Drama. The videos and accompanying resources align with the Curriculum for Excellence and will help you provide historical context to deepen the study of these plays.

About ClickView

ClickView is the world’s leading video content resource for primary schools, secondary schools and further education settings. Founded in 2003 and now with offices across the UK and Australia, ClickView supports over 4,900 schools, colleges and universities around the world. The platform provides access to visually stunning, curriculum-aligned video content and teacher resources, plus contextual on-demand TV, video library and interactive question layers for formative assessment. ClickView puts the highest quality contemporary video content for effective teaching and learning at the fingertips of educators and students. Learn more about ClickView.

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