2020 Awardee: Kari Hall

“The Dewar Award has allowed me to pursue my dreams of going to drama school. Without this award, this would have remained a dream, thank you so much for making this my reality.”

Biography

Born and raised in a small town just outside of Edinburgh, Kari has always had a burning passion for the performing arts. For her, this was a safe place where she always felt free and was able to excel.

After studying her HND in Acting and Performance at New College Lanarkshire in 2019, Kari gained her place at The Bridge Theatre Training Company.

In her time away from her studies, she has worked in a full time role at the Scottish government, as well as with the Citizens Theatre Young Co on the show ‘Adrift’ where she took on the main role of ‘Cammy’. Kari particularly enjoyed working on this piece due to the themes of mental health and her advocacy on the subject.

Kari also has an interest in playwriting, and to pursue this she became part of the Traverse Theatre’s ‘Young Writers’.

After completion of her studies, Kari hopes to have strong foundations and relationships within both Scottish and London theatre. She dreams of one day working with theatre companies such as Frantic Assembly alongside writing and producing her own work, which she hopes to take to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

How the Award Helped

Kari received a Dewar Arts Award to support her studies at The Bridge Theatre Training Company in London.

“The Dewar Award has allowed me to pursue my dreams of going to drama school. Without this award, this would have remained a dream, thank you so much for making this my reality.”

2019 Awardee: Luke Gallagher

"I don’t come from an arts background, but my working class Glaswegian upbringing has given me the belief that what’s for me won’t go by me. My ambition is to get to the top of my field and enjoy the journey along the way. I have benefited greatly from receiving this award"

Biography

An actor from Glasgow, Luke comes from a family of tradespeople. He is the first in his family to pursue a career in the arts.

Luke was a member of the ‘Young Co.’ at Citizens Theatre.  He proved himself to be committed and conscientious, and took part in a production that toured around Glasgow Secondary Schools.

Luke has been described by his tutors as having an excellent natural instinct for performance and an edge that makes him interesting to watch.

As an aspiring actor, Luke applied to Rose Bruford College in London.  He felt that the focus on both theatre and film offered a good fit for his personality, style and ambitions.  He was successful in his application – a mark of his strong skillset and potential.

Over the longer term, Luke aims to move back to Scotland to support the development of the Scottish theatre sector.

How the Award Helped

Luke received an Award to support his Foundation Studies in Acting course at Rose Bruford College.

"I don’t come from an arts background, but my working class Glaswegian upbringing has given me the belief that what’s for me won’t go by me. My ambition is to get to the top of my field and enjoy the journey along the way. I have benefited greatly from receiving this award"

2019 Awardee: Alyth Ross

“The Dewar Arts award has provided me and so many other young people with a life-changing opportunity...I’ve been able to continue my training at this exceptional institution, which is without a doubt everything I’d anticipated and more. I am extremely grateful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Biography

Growing up on a family farm in South West Scotland, Alyth’s introduction to acting came not from exposure to theatre, but from her granddad’s love of poetry. Aged 8, she entered into her first competition armed with Roald Dahl’s ‘The Pig’, and at that point she ‘caught the storytelling bug’. She began singing and acting classes in her local area, and in search of further opportunity she applied to join the Royal Conservaoire of Scotland’s Junior Musical Theatre course in 2014.

Whilst at RCS, Alyth heard about the Dance School of Scotland’s Musical Theatre course at Knightswood. She auditioned to study there full-time during her final two years at high school, and was successful in gaining a place. At 15, Alyth showed great maturity whilst living away from home and completing her Highers alongside a full vocational training.  She also demonstrated great promise as a drama student, and took part in public performances including two shows at the Citizens Theatre (‘9 to 5’ and ‘Legally Blonde’).

Alyth enjoyed all elements of her musical theatre training, but afer winning the Drama Award in 2016 decided to focus solely on acting at drama school.  Her passion for acting alongside the skills she had developed enabled her to gain a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – a prestigious institution that she’d previously only dreamed of attending.

Alyth’s goal is to continue to improve her craft and develop her passion for performing in theatre and film.

How the Award Helped

Alyth received a Dewar Arts Award to support her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  She writes;

“The Dewar Arts award has provided me and so many other young people with a life-changing opportunity; to achieve things I never dreamt I would. As a Scottish student from a rural background, I had never anticipated that I’d have to pay for my higher education, and so when I was first offered my place at Guildhall I almost had to turn it down due to funding. However, thanks to the incredibly generous support from Dewar Arts, I’ve been able to continue my training at this exceptional institution, which is without a doubt everything I’d anticipated and more. I am extremely grateful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

“The Dewar Arts award has provided me and so many other young people with a life-changing opportunity...I’ve been able to continue my training at this exceptional institution, which is without a doubt everything I’d anticipated and more. I am extremely grateful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

2018 Awardee: Rachael Keiller

"I couldn't have participated in the project without the help of the Dewar Arts Awards. Thank you for making it possible!"

Biography

Hailing from Leven in Fife, Rachael started performing from a young age at her local youth theatre.

At 18, she moved to Edinburgh and studied at Telford College (PASS). After graduating she worked as an actor and drama facilitator, then continued her studies at New College Lanarkshire. She obtained first-class honours in Acting.

After moving to Glasgow, Rachael continued to develop her work as an actor. In 2018, she was offered the opportunity to participate in ‘The Network Ensemble’, working with SDTN and Caitlin Skinner. This would allow her to create a new piece of work, develop her theatre-making skills, and to develop her practice as a theatre maker, writer and actor.

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Her ambition is to create her own theatre, and she is passionate about making work with and for young audiences.

How the Award Helped

Rachael’s Award enabled her to attend ‘The Network Ensemble 2018’. This allowed her to develop her theatre skills and to have her first fringe experience as a performer.

"I couldn't have participated in the project without the help of the Dewar Arts Awards. Thank you for making it possible!"

2018 Awardee: Ewan Miller

"This award has provided me with what I have always desired: the ability to work tirelessly and completely on becoming a professional actor...From the bottom of my heart, thank you"

Biography

Ewan was born in the Scottish Highlands and moved between parents on the East and West Coast of Scotland whilst growing up. In his final year of secondary school he made the move to Ullapool, where he was introduced to acting in a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This proved to be a life-changing experience for Ewan, who found such resonance in his role as an actor that this resulted in a shift of mind set and a new trajectory for his ambitions.

Ewan auditioned for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), and although he reached the final stage of auditions, he was encouraged to gain a little more life experience first. In response to this suggestion, Ewan completed a one year course at Telford College in Edinburgh, then worked with the Scottish Youth Theatre and Mary McCluskey, touring around Scotland with a show written by Brian Cosgrove. After the tour, Ewan completed an Honours Degree whilst working to support himself in his studies.

After an intense audition season in 2017/18, Ewan gained places and scholarships to many of the UK’s top drama schools. He chose to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and having continued to develop his technique as an actor has been recognised as an exceptional student by his teachers:

‘From the second that Ewan arrived at RCS it was clear that he was very talented, committed, extremely reliable, and hardworking student – he stood out immediately. He is an exceptional student and wonderful person and he is a joy to work with. He is a real artist.’ – Katya Kamotskaia, Acting Lecturer, RCS

Ewan has also performed the leading role in a short film that has experienced some international success and continues to look for roles that challenge and develop his playing diversity, a challenge that he is enjoying at drama school. The director of SKIN (2017), Alasdair Boyce, stated:

‘Ewan very quickly grasped the complexities of the character and was able to adeptly interpret them into his performance. Despite a primarily stage based background Ewan adapted very quickly to the process of acting for screen. I was initially concerned that his performance may be too theatrical for the sullen and brooding fisherman but Ewan very quickly dispelled these concerns by delivering a masterfully understated performance in which he very convincingly and emotively managed to say everything without saying anything – a technique that I find crucial to dramatic realism.’

Ewan is now set on achieving his unwavering ambition to become a professional and versatile Scottish actor for film, stage and television.

How the Award Helped

Ewan received a Dewar Arts Award to support him in his studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

He says;

‘This award has provided me with what I have always desired: the ability to work tirelessly and completely on becoming a professional actor and the skillset that I see necessary for this. It has removed the pressures that can be added by life and, in place of them, given me freedom and space to focus all of my energy on the work. Being given this opportunity, after having to wait with burning ambitions, means so much to me that I am deeply moved whenever I spend any time thinking about it. It is both rare and wonderful and so deeply appreciated. It is actually very difficult to put into words how it feels. I just look forward to showing how I have used the resulting freedom, space and time provided by the award as it is already having such an enormous influence on the craft I am developing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.’

"This award has provided me with what I have always desired: the ability to work tirelessly and completely on becoming a professional actor...From the bottom of my heart, thank you"

2018 Awardee: Alexander Cowan

"The trustees' faith in my ability has not only increased my self-confidence but also my chances of success as a professional actor"

Biography

From a young age, Alexander Arran Cowan demonstrated talent and dedication to the performing arts in Scotland. His passion for acting started when he was just eight years old with Borders Youth Theatre, where he played many lead roles. He later joined promenade theatre company, Shakespeare-at-Traquair gaining experience of drama workshops and performances. By the age of 12 Alexander had appeared on the Smile TV show on CBBC and in a Scottish BAFTA nominated short film which toured festivals around the UK and Europe.

In addition to his love of theatre, Alexander became a keen filmmaker. He joined the highly-acclaimed youth film project, Voice Of My Own, and performed in dramas and sketch shows. His passion for acting led him to Performing Arts Studio Scotland at Edinburgh College, where he entertained audiences as Aegeus in the Greek classic Medea and as Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Prodd in David Kane’s farce Grave Plots.  He was awarded a Higher National Diploma and gained the chance to learn from leading industry professionals including Game of Thrones actor John Stahl.

As a young adult, Alexander gained an agent and was awarded professional work on projects for ITV, NHS and in commercial advertising.  In 2018, he was offered a highly coveted place with Project A at the Newcastle Theatre Royal. This full time, professional actor training programme selects only the most talented individuals who show the greatest potential. Through Project A, Alexander has gained the chance to work with Michael Corbidge (Royal Shakespeare Company), Ros Steen (former head of voice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), and Newcastle-based dance company Ballet Lorent.

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How the Award Helped

Alexander received an Award to support him in applying himself fully to his work with Project A.  He writes;

‘My Dewar Arts Award has helped me to completely focus on my studies and make the best use of this incredible opportunity. In addition to working with an amazing list of industry professionals, this award has enabled me to attend extracurricular theatre trips to increase my learning and understanding of professional performance. The trustees’ faith in my ability has not only increased my self-confidence but also my chances of success as a professional actor. I have been able to prioritise my learning, develop as an actor and stand a much greater chance of reaching my potential. Without this award I may not have been in a position to take up this opportunity. Therefore, I am incredibly grateful for this support and the opportunities it has given.’

Since the Award

Update June 2019:

‘The course has been in full swing for ten months now. I have had an incredible time, met amazing people, and learned so much in the process.

We have started rehearsals for our end of course performance. We are performing Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Fear and Misery of the Third Reich’. It takes place in pre-war Nazi Germany and follows the lives of different characters trying to find their place in an ever changing fascist state.

It has been an incredible process so far and I am getting the chance to put everything I have learned this year into practice.’

"The trustees' faith in my ability has not only increased my self-confidence but also my chances of success as a professional actor"

2018 Awardee: Conor McLeod

"The Award will support me in achieving my dream of attending Drama School"

Biography

Conor is an actor hailing from Glasgow.  During his time with the Kings Theatre’s Attic Collective, he took part in three productions on the Edinburgh King’s stage.  This included the World Premiere of Jo Clifford’s ‘War In America’, which became a published play with the original casts names.

Conor was part of Open Door Year One, which helped working class actors with audition fees and tutoring at drama school. Conor successfully auditioned for Guildhall to study a BA in Acting.

How the Award Helped

Conor’s Award supported his studies at Guildhall and enabled him to gain experience of theatre in London as an audience member.  His Award also enabled him to travel back home to Scotland, and to visit his mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The Award will support me in achieving my dream of attending Drama School"

2017 Awardee: Shyvonne Ahmmad

"Supporting myself through the degree was going to be a massive obstacle. My Dewar Arts Award has been pivotal in me pursuing my aspirations...words cannot describe how thankful I am to be able to prioritise my learning...it is a life-changing privilege."

Biography

From a young age Shyvonne Ahmmad has proven herself to be a young actor of outstanding ability. Her talent and dedication has brought exciting opportunities her way, and she is driven to succeed.

Shyvonne was born in Stoke on Trent, but spent most of her childhood in Perth. From an early age she was enthused by film, television and theatre, and nurtured a desire to be part of that industry in the future.  SHe pursued this ambition by attending the Acting and Performance course at Edinburgh College and graduated with an HND.

Her time in Edinburgh afforded opportunities to play some iconic roles in theatre, such as Medea and Wendla from Spring Awakening. It also gave her the impetus to continue learning her craft, and on graduation Shyvonne gained a place on the BA Acting course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

In 2017, Shyvonne was chosen from more than 90 auditionees to take the lead role in ‘Snowflake’.  A new graduate ensemble production, Snowflake was co-created by the Scottish Drama Training Network and the Pleasance Theatre Trust, directed by Mark Thomson and performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Shyvonne was hailed as “an extraordinarily talented actor”, whose performance was “compelling, touching, charismatic and palpably ‘realistic'”.

She says that all of these experiences have strengthened her passion and dedication for the arts, and her ambition is such that she is “looking to shoot for the moon”.

How the Award Helped

Shyvonne’s Award supported her during her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Scottish Drama Training Network – The Snowflake

"Supporting myself through the degree was going to be a massive obstacle. My Dewar Arts Award has been pivotal in me pursuing my aspirations...words cannot describe how thankful I am to be able to prioritise my learning...it is a life-changing privilege."

2017 Awardee: Grace Green

"Receiving Dewar Arts Award funding has ensured my continued involvement with the National Ensemble 2017...furthering my training and learning and growth. Thank you."

Biography

From a young age, Grace had passion and talent for acting.  This was nurtured by classes at the Moray Steiner School (now the Drumduan School), by becoming a member of the Scottish Ballet Junior Associate Scheme and by auditioning successfully for the Eden Court Young Dance Company for 5 years consecutively.

Grace’s training also includes LAMDA syllabus acting exams and shows, productions with Youth Music Theatre UK, and being a company member of the Eden Court Collective for the National Theatre of Scotland Exchange Festival 2016. Grace has experience as a young company member for Ballet L’orent and the Rosie Kay Dance Company.

In 2017, Grace became a member of the inaugural Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble, where she had the opportunity to train with Frantic Assembly, fight director James McReady, devise and write a show with BAFTA award-winning writer David Cosgrove, and take a Shakespearean masterclass with Scottish Youth Theatre artistic director Mary McCluskey.

As a member of the National Youth Arts Advisory Group (working in conjunction with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government), Grace developed her commitment to young people’s progression in and through the arts, and to the ‘Time to Shine’ National Youth Arts Strategy.  Her ambition is to continue her training in acting and physical theatre, and go on to teach and facilitate.

How the Award Helped

Grace’s Dewar Award supported her engagement with the National Ensemble 2017.

"Receiving Dewar Arts Award funding has ensured my continued involvement with the National Ensemble 2017...furthering my training and learning and growth. Thank you."

2016 Awardee: Mirren Mack

“I am so grateful for this opportunity. The Dewar Arts Award as has granted me freedom and the chance to study a school I had only dreamt of attending. Thank you.”

Biography

Born and raised in Stirling, Mirren grew up the eldest daughter of an actor father and drama tutor mother. This early exposure to the world of theatre inspired Mirren to perform, and she took up classes in acting, dance and performing on stage from a very young age.

In her 5th year at high school Mirren auditioned for the Dance School of Scotland’s Musical Theatre course at Knightwood, where she went on to study full time for two years. Whilst there she demonstrated a rare combination of focus, maturity and natural talent.  She took part in many public performances, including two shows that took place in the Citizens Theatre (Batboy and Godspell). She won the drama prize for her year in 2015 and the Musical Theatre Award in her final year.

Mirren enjoyed all aspects of her training, however her passion for acting drove her to audition for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  She was successful in gaining a place, offering an excellent opportunity to study her craft at a highly prestigious school.

Mirren’s ambition is to develop her craft and perform both within theatre and film.

How the Award Helped

Mirren’s Dewar Arts Award enabled her to accept her place to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and to fully benefit from the opportunity to further her talents.

Since the Award

March 2020: Mirren gained her first prime time TV role in the BBC’s ‘The Nest’.  In an interview with The Mail on Sunday she credited her support from the Dewar Arts Awards as being vital in her development as an actor, without which she would not have been able to afford her tuition at Guildhall.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity. The Dewar Arts Award as has granted me freedom and the chance to study a school I had only dreamt of attending. Thank you.”