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2003 Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland.     

The Award For The Best Theatre Production was shared between two productions. Shining Souls, directed by Alison Peebles and co-produced by her company, V.amp Productions and the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, shared the top award with Scrooge, directed and designed by Kenny Miller, the 2002 Christmas show at the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow.

The Award For Best Male Performance went to John Kazek as Guy de Maupassant in Pleasure and Pain, by Mark Thomson and directed by him, at the Glasgow Citizens. Mark Thomson is taking over from Kenny Ireland as Artistic Director for Royal Lyceum Theatre Company. He has just announced their 2003 - 2004 season and will be directing their first production in the season Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in September.

The Award For Best Female Performance went to Alexandra Mathie as Dr Vivian Bearing in Wit, the Pulitzer prize winning play by Margaret Edson, in a touring production by Stellar Quines the only Scottish theatre company who facilitate, nurture and promote primarily female artists. They are celebrating their 10th year of existence in 2003 and whose next production is Sweet Fanny Adams In Eden a site specific work in the new created Scottish Plant Collectors Garden at Pitlochry Festival Theatre this July.

The Award for Best Design went to Calum Colvin, one of Scotland's most respected photographic artists making his debut as a theatre designer. His giant breathing bellows, like the bellows of an old-fashioned camera, were designed for Peter Arnott's impressive new Victorian melodrama, The Breathing House. It was produced by the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Edinburgh and directed by Kenny Ireland, who is about to retiring from being its Artistic Director after 10 years of seeing the company into its present vibrant form.

The Award For Best New Play went to David Greig's Outlying Islands, a production directed by Philip Howard from that powerhouse of new writing in Scotland, the Traverse, Edinburgh. It was premiered during the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is touring Scotland this May/June 2003. The play is published by Faber and available from the Traverse, Faber and good bookshops.

Robert Dawson Scott, the awards convenor, said: "We set up these awards in order to highlight the high quality of theatre in Scotland. The fact that we were unable finally to separate the two best productions underlines just how good a year it has been. Although we were able to find outright winners in all the other categories, the margins of victory were in all cases extremely narrow."

The critics’ panel also announced that, in recognition of his immeasurable contribution to theatre in Scotland over the 34 years in which he has been director of the Glasgow Citizens, it wished to
honour Giles Havergal. The critics will collectively sponsor a seat at the Citizens Theatre, at a cost of £500, as a contribution to the theatre’s current fund-raising campaign. Giles Havergal also played Ebeneezer Scrooge in the winning production of Scrooge.

The critics also announced that they intended to make the awards an annual event and would be seeking financial support for a larger scale awards ceremony next year. Five extra categories of award will be added: best director, best technical presentation, best children’s show, best ensemble production and best music.

Robert Dawson Scott added, “This first year was an experiment; we wanted to try out the scheme and gauge support with a minimal number of awards. We have been delighted by the positive feedback, especially from the theatre community, so we can now move forward on a more permanent footing and reward other essential parts of the theatre process.”

One of the critics involved in the five hour debate, the editor and chief critic of EdinburghGuide's Theatre Section Thelma Good said, " These winners show how much creative life there is in Scottish Theatre today and the closeness of other nominees reflects its depth. I'm very glad we are acknowledging these people's and companies' achievements. They work in an art form which is of its nature ephemeral, so the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland marks their best achievements."

Any piece of theatre produced in Scotland in the last twelve months from May 2002 - April 2003, (the natural break in the theatre year) was eligible.

When announcing the launch of these annual awards in April 2003 awards convenor, Robert Dawson Scott said "Almost every trade and profession has some sort of annual review of triumphs and achievements . We feel that theatre in Scotland, which produces some excellent work and delights hundreds of thousands of people every year, deserves no less. The theatre critics between them probably see more of what is on than anyone else."

Before these Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland there were no awards which concentrated exclusively on the unique voices of theatre in Scotland. Previously the nearest equivalent was the TMA Regional Theatre Awards, administered by the Theatre Managers Association in London, which cover theatre, opera and dance all over the UK outside London. In the 2002 TMA awards, which cover a slightly different time period from the proposed Scottish awards, Scottish theatres won four awards -
Best Actor in a Supporting Role, (Jimmy Chisholm in Amadeus at Pitlochry Festival Theatre);
Best Children's show (Lifeboat by Catherine Wheels Theatre)
Best New Play (Gregory Burke's Gargarin Way from the Traverse)
Outstanding Achievement in Opera (Scottish Opera for Siegfried and Die Walkure).)

The theatre critics in Scotland involved in awarding the first Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland were:
Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Scotland on Sunday), Neil Cooper (The Herald),
Andrew Burnett (Sunday Herald), Dan Bye (The Stage), Allan Chadwick (Metro), Steve Cramer (List), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (Edinburgh Evening News), Ann Fotheringham (Evening Times - Glasgow), Thelma Good (, Joyce McMillan (Scotsman), Kenneth Spiers (Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday) and Joy Watters (The Courier).
web site
Thelma Good
Monday, May 12, 2003back



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