Wardlaw Drama Trust in the News

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Our 2015 award winners. Congratulations!


ward-1Following our “In Conversation” event with Brian Cox there were some articles in the local papers as well as online.


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At the end of the Brian Cox event we presented the 2013 awards to the winners. Congratulations to them all.

Liz Lochead – Scottish Makar will appear at the Brigend Theatre on Wed. 10th Oct

After attending Glasgow School of Art, Liz lectured in fine art for eight years before becoming a professional writer.

In the early 1970s she joined Philip Hobsbaum’s writers’ group, a crucible of creative activity – other members were Alasdair Gray, James Kelman and Tom Leonard. Her plays include Blood and Ice, Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987), Perfect Days (2000) and a highly acclaimed adaptation into Scots of Molière’s Tartuffe (1985). She adapted the medieval texts of the York Mystery Plays, performed by a largely amateur cast at York Theatre Royal in 1992 and 1996. Her adaptation of Euripides’ Medea won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award in 2001.

She has written for BBC Radio 4: Blood and Ice (11 June 1990), The Perfect Days (16 May 1999), Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (11 February 2001) and The Stanley Baxter Playhouse: Mortal Memories (26 June 2006). Like her work for theatre, her poetry is alive with vigorous speech idioms; collections include Memo For Spring (1972), True Confessions and New Clichés (1985), Bagpipe Muzak (1991) and Dreaming Frankenstein: and Collected Poems (1984). She has collaborated with Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra.
In January 2011 she was named as the second Scots Makar, or national poet, succeeding Edwin Morgan who had died the previous year.

20 Years of Giving

A reception was held at Gracefield Arts Centre on the afternoon of 20th August when the  Trust installed its Patron Emeritous Professor Jan McDonald FRSE FRSAMD.

Two of our award winners, Kirsten Gair and Tessa Parker gave presentations of their courses at SYT and everyone celebrated ’20 Years of Giving’ with a glass of wine!

The Trust looks forward to its next fund-raising event on 10thOct When Scotland’s Makar  will come to Brigend Theatre Dumfries and talk to us about her task as Poet Laureate and her Theatrical writings.

Pictured (Linda Wardlaw, Hazel Lipton, Kirsten Gair, Ruth McLellan,Tessa Parker, Fiona Walker, Prof. Jan McDonald, and Jenny Wilson.)

Celebrating 20 Years of Giving

The trust is hosting a reception at Gracefield Arts Centre on the 20th Aug at 3.30pm, where they will introduce their Patron Emeritous Professor Jan McDonald FRSE,FRSAMD. and enjoy presentations from this years award winners. Tessa Parker, Vikki Litton Kirsten Gair  and Liam McLafferty

Awards 2012

The Wardlaw Drama Trust happily announces the 2012 award winners. In what is the 20th year of funding young awards were given to Vikki Litton, Liam Mclafferty, Tessa Parker (pictured far left) and Kirsten Gair (pictured far right).

The trust was set up in 1994 to encourage amateurs of all ages to seek improvement in every area of theatre, in memory of Ian Wardlaw, a dedicated director at the Guild of Players!

Dancer praises trust for helping him “follow his dream”

FOR two decades, amateur performers have been given a stepping stone to stardom, thanks to a Dumfries trust.

And, as it celebrates 20 years of success, two national rising stars have praised the Wardlaw Trust for its support in helping almost 100 young hopefuls to secure a bright future in the performing arts.

Dumfries dancer Michael Porter (pictured left) and young opera star Nicky Spence were both fledgling performers when they won a Wardlaw Trust award to help them develop their skills.

Michael, now performing in London, says the Wardlaw Trust allowed him to “follow his dreams”.

He has most recently starred in a Priscilla corporate event in London and was cast as dance captain in a pantomime production of Jack and the Beanstalk at Mansfield Palace Theatre.

Michael said: “Coming from a not so financially equipped background I was unable to attend the London schools.

“Back when I was a child there wasn’t really any musical theatre schools other than the theatre royal and operatic society.

“The trust has helped me immensely in completing my training.

“It has helped make me the performer I am today and got me to where I am now.

“It’s great that a trust is there to help the youngsters of Dumfries in allowing them to live and follow their dreams, making financial worries much more manageable.”

The trust founded by Ian Wardlaw has helped dozens of people over the years.

Between 80 and 90 young adults from Langholm, Lockerbie, Moffat, Annan, Stranraer, Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas, Dalbeattie, Sanquhar, Thornhill and Dumfries have benefited from the cash.

Michael added: “Now I have moved down to London I can put myself out there more and make sure I get known.

“I owe a lot to many people for helping me live and follow my dream.

“I never had the honour of meeting Ian Wardlaw but I know that he was one inspirational man who has changed so many young performers’ lives.”

One of the brightest performance artist’s to come out of the region is Nicky Spence, a young tenor from Thornhill, who has swiftly climbed the ladder to national stardom.

Nicky also began his journey with support from the Wardlaw Trust and is currently playing in Billy Budd in London before flying out to The Metropolitan Opera in New York in autumn to make his international debut.

He said: “The Wardlaw trust acted as a vital springboard for my passions in the arts a youngster.

“I am indebted to them for their boundless support for my career which would not have been possible without them.”

Wardlaw Trust awards have been made for a diverse range of courses including stage building, lighting and sound, technical skills, screen acting, musical theatre, acting and directing.

All have been funded by performances of plays and concerts, Suitcase Theatre drama competitions, and Burns competitions.

Linda Wardlaw said: “Our two very worthy winners this year are Kirsten Gair, age 15, and 16-year-old Tessa Parker.

“Both girls are from Dalbeattie High School and need support to attend Scottish Youth Theatre’s three-week course in Glasgow this July.

“We wish them the very best of good luck!”

Linda added: “Many of our recipients have gone into the professional field and into teaching.

“Some are treading the boards in London and heading for international fame!”

Original Article 

Helping to live the dream

Drama enthusiasts in Dumfries and Galloway received a welcome boost this week with the Ian Wardlaw Drama Trust awards.

The awards this year have helped to fund five young people to follow their hearts’ desire at various prestigious theatrical establishments hosting a variety of courses.

Trustee Linda Wardlaw said: “We are impressed by the choice of courses offered this year, screen acting being a first.”

The trust set up in 1994 in memory of Guild of Players member Ian Wardlaw and is passion for drama, seeks to inspire amateurs of all ages to improve in every area of theatre work. Each year the awards help a number of young people advance in their careers in the performing arts.

This year’s awards ceremony was held at the new Primrose and Gordon offices in Newall Terrace, Dumfries. The recipients are 16-year-old Jack Nurse from Kirkcudbright, who will attend a directing course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow; 26-year-old Michael Murray of Dumfries, received help towards a screen acting course at the University of West Scotland in Ayr; Claire Nicholson, aged 18 of Moniaive, will learn dance and drama at Stow; and 14-year-old Kirsty Pickering, from Dalbeattie, and Dumfries’ Jennifer Donnelly, aged 16, will both attend courses at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow.

Ian Wardlaw Drama Trust announces this year’s winners

A DIVERSE group of budding dramatists met on Monday for the presentation of the annual bursaries awarded by the Ian Wardlaw Drama Trust.

Eight eager youngsters hailing from Newton Stewart, Dalbeattie, Sanquhar, Canonbie, Moffat and Dumfries, will be pursueing diverse courses all over the UK in the coming academic year, including for the first time a script-writing course at RSAMD.

The trust was set up in 1994 to encourage amateurs of all ages to seek improvement in every area of theatre, in memory of Ian Wardlaw, a dedicated director at the Guild of Players!

Award winners

Jennifer Donnelly, 15, Dumfries, Scottish Youth Theatre; Elizabeth Crawford, 15, Newton Stewart, Scottish Youth Theatre; Rebecca Jackson, 17, Canonbie, BA (Hons) Preston; Grazyna McGroarty, 16, Dunscore, Script Writing, RSAMD; Andrew Tapner, 15, Dalbeattie, Jennifer Steele Drama Group for Austistic Spectrum Disorder; Beth Monaghan, 16, Sanquhar, Weekly classes at RSAMD; Liam McClafferty, 17, Moffat, Drama course at Carlisle; Michael Porter (pictured below), 25, Dumfries, Auditions and headshots following graduation with distinction.