2020 Awardee: Rosie Dignan

rosie dignan

"Coming from a low income family, I didn’t think I’d have the chance to attend any kind of training, but thanks to funding from [the Dewar Arts Awards] I’ve been able to develop my skills immensely and have been accepted to one of my dream schools."

Biography

Born and raised in Dundee, Rosie was surrounded by dancers, artists, and performers as a child. She soon became part of the Scottish Dance Theatre’s junior company, with whom she performed at many venues around Scotland. This gave her plenty of early experience as well as the chance to work with choreographers such as Botis Seva and Joan Cleville.

Rosie has been involved in Amateur Dramatics since the age of 8, and has held lead roles in many performances including Godspell, The Wiz, and 42nd Street. She has also been a part of Dundee Schools Music Theatre since her second year at school.

Throughout her early teens, Rosie attended regular youth theatre sessions in Dundee, which were the highlight of her week, before being accepted into level 1 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior School of Musical Theatre during her sixth year of school.

Upon completion of her second year at RCS Juniors, she was hand-picked by Miss Laine at Laine Theatre Arts to study musical theatre, being one of the first people accepted onto the course.

How the Award Helped

Rosie was able to further her musical theatre studies at Laine Theatre Arts thanks to her Dewar Arts Award.

rosie dignan

"Coming from a low income family, I didn’t think I’d have the chance to attend any kind of training, but thanks to funding from [the Dewar Arts Awards] I’ve been able to develop my skills immensely and have been accepted to one of my dream schools."

2020 Awardee: Ellie Jack

ellie jack actor

“The Dewar Award has made it possible for me to attend BOVTS and focus on my studies. It is an honour to be supported by this award and I thank them greatly for believing in me.”

Biography

Hailing from Glasgow, Ellie is a spirited actor and theatre performer. In 2018 she joined the Citizen’s Theatre ‘Young Co’, a theatre group for 18-23 year olds, and soon established herself as a committed and talented member.

in 2019, Ellie played an integral part of a production looking at teenage relationships which toured Glasgow secondary schools. Following on from this, in 2020 she held one of the lead roles in a play addressing issues concerning the mental health of young people.

After working on her craft for 3 years in Glasgow, Ellie gained a place at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which is a dream come true for her.

How the Award Helped

Her Dewar Arts Award will help Ellie throughout her drama studies at The Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, allowing her to focus purely on her training.

ellie jack actor

“The Dewar Award has made it possible for me to attend BOVTS and focus on my studies. It is an honour to be supported by this award and I thank them greatly for believing in me.”

2020 Awardee: Charlie Duncan

charlie duncan actor

"The Dewar Arts Award has provided me with what I so deeply crave; the ability and peace of mind to work relentlessly and completely on becoming a professional actor and the training that I believe is necessary to do so."

Biography

Growing up in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Charlie was always determined to do something in the ‘Arts World’. Making her way up through different levels of actor training, Charlie decided to finally take the leap and audition for drama schools in the UK.

Her studies took her from an HND in Acting & Performance at Glasgow Clyde College in 2015, to working with the Citizens Theatre Young Company in 2018. Here she went on to perform in productions of ‘The Kids are Alt Right’ by Guy Hollands, and ‘Scarfed for Life’ by Martin Travers.

 

Charlie found success in her auditions, receiving offers from both Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After much deliberation, she decided to study in Glasgow and stay immersed in the Scottish arts community.

Whilst progressing through the Conservatoire, Charlie found her admiration for that inspiring community continued to grow. She has featured in RCS performances of ‘Macbeth’ and ‘August Osage County’, as well as a short film, ‘Pink/Silver/Orange’ by Michael Guest.

How the Award Helped

Charlie has been able to pursue her aspirations and further her training at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland thanks to her Dewar Arts Award.

charlie duncan actor

"The Dewar Arts Award has provided me with what I so deeply crave; the ability and peace of mind to work relentlessly and completely on becoming a professional actor and the training that I believe is necessary to do so."

2020 Awardee: Colum Donovan-Paterson

Colum Donovan-Paterson vocalist

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making it possible to begin my Masters at the RCS. This has allowed me to pursue crucial further training which will help me realise my dream to be a professional opera singer."

Biography

Born and raised in Glasgow, Colum is a vocalist who is passionate about opera and Scots song. It is his dream to share these passions with audiences everywhere.

Colum’s opera appearances include chorus work in Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir D’Amore‘ (New Generation Festival, Florence) and Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung‘ with Sir Andrew Davis and the RSNO, Kurt Weill’s ‘Street Scene‘ at RCS and Prokofiev’s ‘The Fiery Angel’ in a co-production with Scottish Opera. He played the principal role of The Boy in Kurt Weill’s ‘Der Jasager’ with Scottish Opera Connect and also appears in the Netflix Originals feature film ‘Outlaw King‘ in a singing role.

Choral music is very important to Colum. In 2019, he was selected for the prestigious Genesis Sixteen programme, performing alongside The Sixteen in the world premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s 5th Symphony at The Usher Hall during the Edinburgh International Festival. Colum was also selected for the inaugural Dunedin Consort Young Artist scheme and sang on their ‘Golden Age’ tour and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Colum was Highly Commended at the prestigious Governors’ Recital Prize 2020, received third place in the Hugh S Roberton Prize, and was Highly Commended in the Leonie Kayser Prize for Singing. In 2020 Colum was one of seven students selected for the RCS Associate Artist scheme.

How the Award Helped

Colum’s Award made it possible to study a Master’s degree at the RCS.

Colum Donovan-Paterson vocalist

"I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for making it possible to begin my Masters at the RCS. This has allowed me to pursue crucial further training which will help me realise my dream to be a professional opera singer."

2020 Awardee: Anton Ferrie

anton ferrie writer

"Without the Dewar Arts Award, I would never have been able to afford a Masters degree. Because of the endorsement from the Trust, I've been the beneficiary of an unparalleled network that has given me great opportunities to showcase my work, and has generated for me a roadmap of a career that wouldn't have been feasible otherwise."

Biography

Born to working-class parents in Glasgow, Anton originally embarked on a history degree before deciding his true talents lay in a more practical setting. He won a place to study acting at the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Determined to be versatile as a creative, he has worked across disciplines as an actor, live art producer, journalist, podcaster, and writer for an array of organisations.

Dedicated to elevating voices from the edges of society, Anton’s MLitt degree in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow has acted as a launchpad for the ongoing consolidation of this passion. He continues to work across creative mediums to tell stories, which strive to offer clarity to the chaos of human existence.

How the Award Helped

His Dewar Arts Award helped Anton continue his Masters Degree studies at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

anton ferrie writer

"Without the Dewar Arts Award, I would never have been able to afford a Masters degree. Because of the endorsement from the Trust, I've been the beneficiary of an unparalleled network that has given me great opportunities to showcase my work, and has generated for me a roadmap of a career that wouldn't have been feasible otherwise."

2020 Awardee: James Lyon

james lyon actor

"Being a recipient of the Dewar Arts Award made it possible to fulfil a lifelong ambition to study acting. Their support of Scottish artists, especially during this difficult & uncertain time, is incredible. I promise to return their generosity by helping to enable the next generation of artist in Scotland & beyond."

Biography

James Lyon was born and bred in the Kingdom of Fife. He first “got the acting bug” aged five as Joseph in his school Nativity, before “ascending to play such prestigious roles as Burntisland’s local Pantomime Dame” in his teenage years.

Curious about life beyond Fife, James completed a voluntary year abroad in Uganda teaching English as a second language. He also ran an after-school Drama club where he introduced Ugandan students to the wonders of Ceilidh dancing and Robert Burn, before returning to the school Nativity as Director.

James returned to Europe in 2014 to persue his other passion of Physics, studying at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He rediscovered his love of acting through the University’s Theatre Society.

On graduating, James moved to Shanghai to teach English. Whilst abroad he continued to act, re-affirming his commitment to pursuing a career as an actor.

James returned to Fife in 2019 to audition and save-up money for drama school whilst also becoming a member of the Scottish Youth Theatre’s 2020 National Ensemble. He went on to gain a place to study acting at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

For the future, James’s ambitions are to forge a successful and fulfilling career as an actor. Alongside winning awards, he would love to return to teaching and to use drama as a means of delivering a range of positive social and cultural benefits.

How the Award Helped

James was able to graduate from the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art thanks to receiving a Dewar Arts Award.

james lyon actor

"Being a recipient of the Dewar Arts Award made it possible to fulfil a lifelong ambition to study acting. Their support of Scottish artists, especially during this difficult & uncertain time, is incredible. I promise to return their generosity by helping to enable the next generation of artist in Scotland & beyond."

2020 Awardee: Edward Howat

edward howat sculptor

“I feel very privileged to be awarded the Dewar Arts Award. This award has allowed me access to the tools I needed to advance my career in the direction I wanted.”  

Biography

Having lived in Scotland all his life and harbouring a great interest in many art mediums, Edward graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014 with a degree in production arts and design. During his final year at RCS he discovered a passion and unknown talent for sculpting. This interest led him to experiment and hone his skills and become extremely proficient within a few months, choosing an ambitious realistic sculpture as his final university project.

Edwards’ career as a prop maker and sculptor immediately started out strong. He accepted work with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, teaching possible future students how to sculpt in clay for a silicone prosthetics application.

In 2014, Edward won the Young Artist of the Year award at the Spring Fling festival in Dumfries and Galloway. This allowed him to participate in the festival and gain more recognition. That same year, Edward secured freelance work as a prop maker on the popular TV show ‘Outlander’ and has since made hundreds of props for the production.

Around 2016, Edward’s interests began to move from prop making to solely sculpting. After this point most of his commission work and learning went towards sculpture. In 2017, he was commissioned by Museum Context in Edinburgh to create a sculpture for one of their shop displays – a 4.5ft long Basilisk head from Harry Potter.

Looking to the future, Edward plans to continue his sculpting career by entering the world of 3D modelling. He hopes to become a well-established and successful digital artist.

How the Award Helped

Receiving a Dewar Arts Award has enabled Edward to further his training, refine his skills, and stay up to date with the latest technologies. This will support him on his journey to become a world-class digital sculptor.

edward howat sculptor

“I feel very privileged to be awarded the Dewar Arts Award. This award has allowed me access to the tools I needed to advance my career in the direction I wanted.”  

2020 Awardee: Georgina MacDonell Finlayson

georgina macdonell finlayson musician

"I cannot thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for their support in making this venture possible and helping me bridge the gap into life as a professional freelance musician"

Biography

Georgina MacDonell Finlayson is a violinist, composer, sound artist, and community arts practitioner from the North East of Scotland. She enjoys a varied portfolio of composing, performing, and teaching in both classical and traditional styles, and has a particular interest in multi-disciplinary performance.

In 2019, Georgina graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a first class degree in music, studying violin with Ruth Crouch. She frequently gave solo and chamber recitals, often sitting section principal in the university orchestras and in her final year leading Edinburgh University String Orchestra.

Her experience playing with orchestras and ensembles across Scotland and the UK include Nevis Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, NYOS Futures and Camerata, Kellie Consort, Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble, Dundee Symphony Orchestra, and major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Georgina is also a performer and composer of traditional music, often working with live storytelling and theatre. She has appeared at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and the Audacious Women Festival.

During her time at Edinburgh, Georgina began to find her own compositional voice, studying with Gareth Williams and Pippa Murphy. As a composer, her works have been played by members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble and Any Enemy, performed at Aberdeen’s soundfestival and broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show.

Born and raised in a remote glen, her creative work is often influenced by her experiences of landscape, nature and traditional culture. She is fascinated by the ways in which traditional music and culture are so deeply connected with landscape and language, but also how this connection can be found in the fusion of classical and traditional music across the world.

How the Award Helped

After graduating in 2019, and with thanks to the support of the Dewar Arts Award, Georgina started an MMus in violin performance at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Cath Yates and Pavel Fischer.

georgina macdonell finlayson musician

"I cannot thank Dewar Arts Awards enough for their support in making this venture possible and helping me bridge the gap into life as a professional freelance musician"

2020 Awardee: Sonya Smullen

sonya smullen set designer

"I sincerely value the support of the Dewar Arts Awards. It has granted me the possibility to devote myself to my studies at the Wimbledon College of Arts and develop my potential as a theatre maker. Without their support, the reality I live in would still only be a dream."

Biography

Sonya Smullen is a theatre set designer from Glasgow. Whilst studying Music History at the Music School of Douglas Academy, she discovered a love of set design whilst watching operatic performances. Realising that the design of the space can have an extraordinary effect on performer and audience alike, she moved to London to study Theatre Design at The Wimbledon College of Arts.

In November 2020 she was selected as a finalist for the Prague Quadrennial festival for a site specific immersive design proposal of Karel Capek’s Play ‘The White Plague’. Sonya was also chosen to showcase her work in response to the archive of theatre designer Jocelyn Herbert at the National Theatre symposium ‘Staging the Future’ in March 2021.

After being nominated to study abroad, she was accepted by the Weissensee Academy of Art Berlin to spend an academic year on the Fine Arts Stage and Costume Design programme in Germany.

Her studies at Wimbledon have enabled her to follow the aspirations she had while sitting in her lessons in Music History. Looking to the future, she hopes to work across a multidisciplinary platform, collaborating with a variety of artists to find new approaches for theatre making.

How the Award Helped

Her Dewar Arts Award helped Sonya to complete her BA Theatre Design studies at the University of the Arts London.

sonya smullen set designer

"I sincerely value the support of the Dewar Arts Awards. It has granted me the possibility to devote myself to my studies at the Wimbledon College of Arts and develop my potential as a theatre maker. Without their support, the reality I live in would still only be a dream."

2020 Awardee: Ryan MacKenzie

ryan mackenzie musician

"Doing a Master’s degree is the best thing I could have done for myself right now, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Dewar Arts Awards. Thank you!"

Biography

Raised in Buckie, around the coast from Aberdeen, Ryan grew up surrounded by Strathspey’s rich folk music scene. He went on to study piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Nadia Boulanger alumnus Norman Beedie, before moving to London. Here he spent a couple of years in high demand as a music director and session player, before studying for a Master’s degree in composition and arranging at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

As a pianist and keyboard player, Ryan’s concert work has included such celebrated productions as BBC Children in Need, Time Flies: 100 Years of the RAF, the West End Does series, and the RSNO’s annual St. Andrews Night celebrations.

His musical theatre credits include Les Misérables (International Tour), Guys and Dolls (Savoy Theatre & UK Tour), West Side Story (International Tour), Mary Poppins (International Tour), and a workshop of Starlight Express with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Arlene Phillips. And as an arranger and orchestrator, he has written for some of the country’s most prolific ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award has enabled Ryan to continue his piano studies at Masters Degree level.

ryan mackenzie musician

"Doing a Master’s degree is the best thing I could have done for myself right now, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Dewar Arts Awards. Thank you!"