Pass the Spoon up for CS Award

Nov 10 2012 | By More

Three Edinburgh companies among 39 finalists

By Thom Dibdin

Edinburgh-based Magnetic North’s Pass The Spoon is one of 39 finalists from across Scotland which have been shortlisted for inaugural Creative Scotland Awards.

The “sort of opera” by David Fennessy, David Shrigley and Nicholas Bone is up against Dundee Rep’s production of Further than the Furthest Thing and the Arches multimedia event Whatever Gets You Through the Night in the Theatre Award.

Gavin Mitchell and Pauline Knowles in Pass the Spoon, a “sort-of opera” by David Shrigley, David Fennessy and Nicholas Bone. Pic Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Expressing his delight in the nomination, Magnetic North’s artistic director Nicholas Bone said: “I think that the production’s success shows that work can be both challenging and popular.

“It also demonstrates the importance of public funding for the arts – without it, Pass the Spoon would never have happened. As an idea, a visual artist, a classical composer and a theatre director collaborating on an opera might not immediately suggest something that would have mass appeal, and yet the production played to sell-out audiences of over 4,000 people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.”

The awards hit the headlines this week when it was discovered that Creative Scotland, which runs them, had been unable to find a single female judge to join the seven strong panel – including one nominee from the arts quango itself. CS artistic director Andrew Dixon was forced to defend the awards on his personal blog-post.

The news was the latest self-inflicted wound from CS. It has come under increasing criticism since its announcement that the majority of its theatre clients are to move from two-year programmes of flexible funding to a project funding basis. Ironically, the change comes as CS has an increased amount of money to disperse.

Edinburgh-based finalists

Magnetic North are one of only three Edinburgh-based finalists. Show Them Pictures, the animation studio whose work includes pro-bono productions for charities such as the Refugee Survival Trust, for whom they made the short film Destitution, which is up in the Creative Business Award.

A scene from the NTS production of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by David Greig. Pic: Drew Farrell

Samantha MacDonald and Lesley Riddell-Robertson from Architecture + Design Scotland are up for a Creativity in School Award for their staged workshops allowing children the chance to design a creative intervention on where they come from and film it from the air.

Four further theatre companies and projects are nominated in other categories of the awards. Colin Beattie of Oran Mor is also up for a Creative Business Award, with the 250th A Play, A Pie and A Pint lunchtime theatre production gaining mention in the citations.

Big Sky is nominated for The Boy and the Bunnet in the Traditional Arts, Scots and Gaelic Award. The production, which introduces children and adults to Scottish music, instruments and folk themes, was a hit during this year’s Fringe.

Gavin Sinclair is nominated for a Creativity in School award for the Kibble Education and Care Centre in Paisley, where he uses drama and theatre as a vehicle for inter-subject learning. His work enables pupils to devise shows that tackle issues, subjects and themes that are appropriate for other areas of the curriculum.

Vicki Featherstone, outgoing artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, and NTS associate director John Tiffany, are nominated for the Scottish Arts Ambassador Award. The citation points out that: “seminal production Black Watch continues to tour, with other offerings including The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart and Beautiful Burnout.”

Over 350 artists, filmmakers, writers, performers, creative organisations, and community projects were nominated by the public for the awards. The winners will be announced at £100-a seat ceremony at Kelvingrove Art Gallery on Thursday, December 13.

Ironically, the nominations include many of the artists who have been particularly vocal in their criticism of both the awards and Creative Scotland over recent months.


Scottish Film/ TV Awards
“A celebration of a piece of work or individual performance in a TV production or film which epitomises the character and spirit of Scotland. This could be an actor whose star has shone in the last year or a piece of work which has made a significant impact on the Scottish cultural landscape.

  • The Angels’ Share – Bitter-sweet comedy directed by Ken Loach, starring Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, and Siobhan Reilly. It tells the story of a young Glaswegian father who narrowly avoids a prison sentence.
  • Glasgow Film Festival – Showcases the very best of Scottish and international work, shining a spotlight on Scottish talent, both celebrating and promoting Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage.
  • The Perfect Fit – Directed by Tali Yankelevich, and produced by Finlay Pretsell, Scottish Documentary Institute, and Paul Ryan, Teebster, this documentary is an intimate look into the world of ballet shoes. Recently shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for ‘Documentary Short Subject’ Oscar.

Best Visual Award
“A publicly exhibited, memorable image that captures the essence of Scotland, including, but not limited to, photographs and photography exhibitions, fine art (paintings, etc) or video installation.”

  • Karla Black – Based in Glasgow, Karla Black creates large-scale installations from a combination of traditional art-making materials and things from the everyday environment. She represented Scotland at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2011, and her work was recently featured in the Glasgow International Art Festival. One of Scotland’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Karla was nominated for the Turner Prize 2011.
  • Elph – From a background as a ‘graffiti artist’, tagging bus-stops in Drylaw where he grew up, Elph’s work has since developed in scope and technique. Alongside his huge painted murals under bridges and on building sites, his work is now exhibited in shows in New York, Berlin and London, alongside contemporaries such as Banksy and Adam Neate.
  • Street Level Gallery and Harry Papadopoulos – Harry Papadopoulous’s documentary photography captured the music scene in Scotland through the 1970’s and 80’s. From 1979 to 1984 he was a staff photographer for the music weekly Sounds, providing countless front covers. In 2012 Street Level held a retrospective of his work entitled What Presence: The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos.
  • George Wyllie – Resident of Gourock for over 50 years, Wyllie was best known for his Straw Locomotive and Paper Boat ‘social sculptures’. This year sees a year-long celebration of Wyllie’s artistic legacy. The Whysman Festival is running throughout 2012 alongside a major retrospective exhibition at the Mitchell Library.

Creativity in Schools Award
“This award pays tribute to some of Scotland’s freshest and most creative young minds, celebrating their achievements at both primary and secondary school levels in Scotland, marking their creative efforts in the education system.

  • Samantha MacDonald and Lesley Riddell-Robertson from Architecture + Design Scotland – The education team at A+DS run a national programme of school projects looking at architecture and places. Their ‘Above Scotland’ project worked with primary school children in Inverness, the Western Isles and Inveraray to develop huge aerial photography capturing their local places, and which led to a major exhibition.
  • Fèis Rois – Fèis Rois worked with The Bridge on a project to engage and inspire young people from difficult backgrounds, through music. Traditional musicians worked with the group playing instruments, singing and songwriting. At the end of the project the young people recorded their material and designed their own CD cover.
  • Kibble Education and Care Centre – Paisley-based Kibble Education uses drama and theatre to help young people tackle issues and topics related to their curriculum. This year they produced a piece which included theatre, poetry and music about the war in Afghanistan which was tied to modern and cultural studies.
  • Lorna Gourley, South Ayrshire Council, Summer of Song – For the Summer of Song project South Ayrshire council commissioned a local composer and conductor to work with local school children to write and compose a song celebrating the local area and the 2012 London Olympics. The song was then performed by the orchestras and choirs from six local primary schools as part of the formal welcome of the Olympic Torch relay to South Ayrshire.

Best New Talent Award
“A creative star who has blossomed this year, a talent who has made 2012 their year to be remembered by, announcing their arrival on the Scottish cultural scene and ensuring that their name is one peopel will know for many years to come.

  • Alex Boyd – Widely regarded as one of the rising stars of contemporary Scottish photography, Alex Boyd’s work has been exhibited and published internationally, with shows at prestigious venues such as The Scottish Parliament, The Royal Ulster Academy and the European Parliament.
  • Paul Brannigan – Star of Ken Loach’s Angels Share, Paul was spotted by screenwriter Paul Laverty and director Ken Loach and offered the lead role in the film after working as a football coach in the Barrowfield community in Glasgow and helping to tackle knife crime as part of a Strathclyde Police initiative.
  • Blair Mowat – Blair has composed numerous scores for film, theatre and media, with clients ranging from independent production companies to the likes of Channel 4 and Kevin Spacey. He is a BAFTA nominated, 4Talent short-listed, award-winning composer.

Creative Business Award
“Arts and creative organisations work hard at balancing the creation of their work, with the needs to run as a business. This award is for artists and cultural organisations who have demonstrated innovation and creative thinking in their business approach.

  • Denki Ltd – Dundee-based Denki is a ‘digital toy factory’ and the creator of hundreds of games for various digital platforms. They work with many of the world’s largest media companies, releasing games based upon famous characters, brands and licenses from across the movie, television and video games industries.
  • Colin Beattie and Oran Mor – Their lunchtime theatre project ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ commissions 37 new plays a year across a range of genres. Works takes place Mon-Sat, last less than an hour and are priced to attract new audiences to theatre. Oran Mor works with some of the UK’s most well-known writers as well as profiling the work of new and exciting theatrical voices.
  • Show Them Pictures – Award-winning Edinburgh-based animation studio, Show Them Pictures’ ‘Free Fridays Initiative’ offers animators as pro bono every Friday to offer free animation to good causes. Resulting in work such as the short film Destitution completed in 2012 for charity Refugee Survival Trust.

Scotland’s Traditional Arts, Scots and Gaelic Award
“Scotland’s traditional arts continue to influence and inform all corners of the Scottish cultural landscape. This award seeks to celebrate a group, event or individual whose impact on the scene keeps the traditions of our cultural bedrock alive.”

  • Big Sky: The Boy and The Bunnet – Introduces children and adults to the Scots language and Scots traditional instruments. Developed as a live show, with a narrator guiding the audience through the story, a book and CD have also been published, and educational material is available for teachers to introduce the story in schools.
  • Dannsa – Scotland’s ultimate traditional dance group showcase step and set dancing to live traditional musicians and Gaelic singers.  They also annually present the eclectic Strathspey Away dance festival in Kingussie. Entering their second decade, Dannsa mix performance with teaching workshops, and have recently produced a DVD to help newcomers to Scottish traditional dance.
  • Manran – Their music combines Gaelic/English songs backed with an array of instruments. Mànran regularly perform across Europe, and are staples of the Scottish festival circuit. Their debut Gaelic single Latha Math was produced by two of the country’s top producers, Calum Malcolm (Wet Wet Wet, Simple Minds and Runrig) and legendary accordion player and musician Phil Cunningham.

Music Award
“It’s one of the country’s most successful exports and has been for decades. We celebrate the achievements of an individual or group who capture the sound of Scotland, whose achievements and output have played a significant part in the soundtrack of 2012.

  • Admiral Fallow – Formed in 2007 by singer/song-writer Louis Abbott and based in Glasgow, Admiral Fallow, write and perform folk/pop. The band has supported many artists – including Guillemots, King Creosote, the Futureheads, Paolo Nutini, Frightened Rabbit, Belle and Sebastian, and The Low Anthem. In 2012 they released their second album entitled Tree Bursts in Snow.
  • Frightened Rabbit – Formed in 2003, Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band originally from Selkirk. The band signed to Atlantic Records in 2010.  In 2012 they released the EP entitled State Hospital, featuring Scottish vocalist Aidan Moffat which precedes their fourth album which will be released in 2013.
  • Rachel Sermanni – A storytelling singer-songwriter who has performed both as a solo artist and with a band, in 2012 Rachel released her debut solo album Under Mountains.  With a growing following across Europe, her CV includes work supporting Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith, Michael Kiwanuka, Mumford & Sons, KT Tunstall, Newton Faulkner and John William Grant.

Theatre Award
“From small-scale productions to Hollywood aspirations, the Scottish theatre scene has something for everyone. We bring the curtain up on an outstanding individual performance or production which made a significant impact on the stage this year.

  • The Arches: Whatever Gets You Through The Night – An ambitious new multi-disciplinary live event created by Cora Bissett with Swimmer One and David Greig, the show blended circus, cabaret, and a host of stories – all of which take place across Scotland between the hours of midnight and 4am.
  • Dundee Rep Ensemble: Further than the Furthest Thing – Written by award-winning Scottish based playwright Zinnie Harris, James Brining’s production flooded the stage to demonstrate the isolation of the island on which the play is set with stage lighting and water used to reflect beautiful images onto the back wall of the set.  Inspired by Scottish artist Elizabeth Ogilvie’s work the production won two awards at the CATS (Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland)
  • Magnetic North: Pass The Spoon – A co-production with Southbank Centre, in collaboration with Red Note Ensemble, Pass the Spoon brought visual artist David Shrigley, award-winning composer David Fennessy and Magnetic North’s Artistic Director Nicholas Bone together to create ‘a sort of opera about cookery’. Set in a daytime TV cookery show, hosts June Spoon and Philip Fork prepare an ill-fated dinner for the fearsome, Mr Granules.

Community Arts Award
“An event or piece of work which went beyond the front row and right into the hearts and homes of the local community. We celebrate a successful artistic endeavour which has impacted the lives of people in the community.

  • Elderflowers – The Hearts & Minds Elderflowers programme uses performing arts to help elderly people who are affected by dementia. Their work is a starting point for verbal and non-verbal communication and aims to improve the quality of life and well-being of those in dementia care.
  • Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us – Organised and conceived by artists TS Beall and Matt Baker, visitors to the Glasgow International Festival were invited to the Govan waterfront to participate in hurling communications across the river. The methods included Semaphore flags, smoke signals, string-and-cup telephones, homing pigeons, messages-in-bottles, a trebuchet, and a choral serenade (groups singing simultaneously, unsynchronised).
  • The Zombie Project – The Zombie project gave local youngsters in the Ferguslie area of Paisley the chance to write, direct and star in their own zombie shocker.  Aimed at young people aged 13-25, as the project developed it expanded to include the communities of younger groups, adult employment groups, and even the OAP bingo group.

“Scotland is home to some of the most celebrated literary works in history, and continues to produce writers with skill, flair and the ability to communicate, educate, illuminate and entertain the people. We chronicle the achievements of those whose written work draws on Scotland for inspiration.

  • Alan Bissett – Widely acclaimed author and playwright from Falkirk. After the publication of his first two novels, Boyracers and The Incredible Adam Spark, he became known for his different take on Scots dialect writing, evolving a style specific to Falkirk, suffused with popular culture references and Socialist politics. In addition to his novels Alan has written a number of plays.
  • Angus Peter Campbell – Born in South Uist and currently based on the Isle of Skye, Campbell is an award-winning poet, novelist, journalist, broadcaster and actor. In 2001 he was awarded the Bardic Crown for Gaelic poetry. In 2002 he was given a Creative Scotland Award for Literature and in 2008 was nominated for a BAFTA Best-Actor Award for the lead role in the Gaelic film, Seachd. His latest collection of poetry, Aibisidh, recently won the poetry award  the 2012 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust’s Book of the Year.
  • Janice Galloway – Award-winning writer of novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction.  She has collaborated with musicians and playwrights, has also written liberetti and short plays, and has worked as a writer in residence and a lecturer in creative writing (at Glasgow University).  Earlier this year she won the  2012 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust’s Book of the Year her 2012 Scottish Book of the Year award for her  memoir All Made Up.
  • Ewan Morrison – Author and cultural commentator, Ewan Morrison produced three books – Swung, Menage and Distance – a trilogy dealing with alternatives to monogamy. A published short story writer, and regular contributor to the Guardian, Ewan is also has an award winning background in film and television production.

Scottish Arts Ambassador Award
“Our country has produced some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment, whether in film, music, television, art or literature. But which individual has truly excelled in championing Scotland both at home and around the world.

  • Patrick Doyle – Patrick Doyle is a classically trained Scottish-born composer. A longtime collaborator of actor/director Kenneth Branagh, Doyle is known for his work scoring the music for major films from Hamlet to Harry Potter. In 2012 he composed the score for Disney/Pixar’s Brave. Doyle has been nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards..
  • Donald Shaw/Celtic Connections – The Director of the hugely successful Scottish festival, Celtic Connections, Donald is also a musician and producer in his own right – and one of the founding members of the group Capercaillie. An award winning composer for film and television he has also collaborated with high profile artists such as Nanci Griffith, Peter Gabriel, and Bonnie Raitt – and retains strong links with the finest musicians working in Scotland today.
  • The National Theatre of Scotland: Vicki Featherstone/John Tiffany – The National Theatre of Scotland is the country’s multi-award-winning company – taking its work to venues all around Scotland, and touring internationally.  John Tiffany & Vickie Featherstone were nominated for their leadership and artistic direction of NTS during a period in which they’ve overseen the production of a raft of high quality theatre, including Macbeth, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart and Black Watch.

The 2012 Year of Creative Scotland Event
“We honour an event, big or small, which has memorably and successfully showcased culture and the arts in a setting that is unmistakably Scottish.

  • The Barrowlands Project – Created by Michael Clark, The Barrowlands Project featured 50 local people as performers in the choreography alongside the company dancers accentuating the communal dance experience.
  • Big Noise The Big Concert – The Big Noise is a programme in Raploch run by Sistema Scotland. This year’s performance of the Big Noise Orchestra worked with Venezuela’s feted Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.  The group of schoolchildren – from an estate on the outskirts of Stirling – performed live on stage in an event which marked the official opening of the London 2012 Festival.
  • Enchanted Forest – This multi-award winning show fuses the creative talents of Simon Wilkinson, RJ McConnell and Dalziel + Scullion to create a fantastical outdoor light installation set within a Perthshire forest.


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