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.”

2016 Awardee: Matt Littleson

"This award came at a time when I seriously would not have been able to study at Mountview because of finances, so I hope it goes without saying how incredibly, sincerely grateful for the opportunity I am"

Biography

Raised in a small village called Uplawmoor near Glasgow, Matt joined PACE Youth theatre when he was 8. Although personal challenges led him to leave at 13, he rediscovered his love for acting when he played Vladimir in ‘Waiting for Godot’ during Higher Drama. His teacher told him he should pursue a career in the arts, and spurred on by this Matt trained on the HND Acting and Performance Course at Langside College.  There he gained experience in performing in shows such as ‘Once In a Lifetime’ and ‘Plaza Suite’, creating theatre for children and learning about the industry.

Towards the end of his HND course, Matt successfully auditioned for the lead role as Narrator in Tron Theatre’s production of ‘Under Milk Wood’, performed as part of the Commonwealth Season. This cemented him ambition to become a professional actor.  Following this, Matt gained a place to study at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, taking him a step closer to realising his ambitions.

How the Award Helped

Matt’s Award enabled him to accept his place to study at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, equipping him with the essential tools he needs to become a professional actor.

Matt performing in ‘Under Milk Wood’ at Tron Theatre

"This award came at a time when I seriously would not have been able to study at Mountview because of finances, so I hope it goes without saying how incredibly, sincerely grateful for the opportunity I am"

2016 Awardee: Petre Dobre

"To put it simply, this award has totally changed my life."

Biography

Petre was born, raised and schooled in Craiova, southern Romania. Whilst at school he developed a love for performance including physical theatre, comedic mime and dance.

Petre joined the school dance group, No Limits, and over a six year period entered multiple competitions and toured both nationally and internationally. The group appeared on numerous TV shows including Romania’s Got Talent, fuelling Petre’s desire to become a professional performer.

Petre lost his hearing as a young child.  Through contact with Glasgow’s Solar Bear Theatre company, he discovered the new course for deaf actors being launched at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2015. With no possibility of vocational performance training for the deaf in Romania, and finding an affinity to the city of Glasgow, . Petre became determined to gain a place on the ground-breaking BA Performance in BSL and English, and set about learning British Sign Language.

After a short audition process he was successfully accepted into the first cohort of the at the RCS, which opened his eyes to the wealth of disciplines and possibilities available in performance. As part of the programme, he was involved in the multi-media presentation ‘Dream On’ at Glasgow University celebrating Shakespeare 400, as well as acting in short films and several plays.

Petre’s dream for the future is to perform in theatre and film. He plans to be based in Scotland – his new home – and to combine his experience of dance and movement with new skills learned at the RCS. He aims to explore new visual theatrical forms of storytelling involving sign language and sign poetry, and to perform internationally.

How the Award Helped

This Award allowed Petre to continue his studies at the RCS, and to fully focus on his ambitions to become a performer. Without this support, he would have struggled to afford to stay in Glasgow and finish his degree.

Petre feels that, as a deaf actor, the opportunities that he has been able to access at the RCS have been exceptional, allowing him to develop skills and experience that he could not have achieved elsewhere. To put it simply, he says. this award has totally changed his life.

"To put it simply, this award has totally changed my life."

2016 Awardee: David Wood

"This scholarship opened the door to tuition that has fundamentally changed my practice as a director for the better."

Biography

Hailing from a small community in Kilmarnock, David’s love for theatre and directing originated at a young age thanks to his tremendously supportive teachers.

Having completed a HNC and HND in Acting and Performance at West College Scotland, he became the first person to graduate with a first class honours in Drama, in partnership with the University of Sunderland. David was subsequently awarded the Ede & Ravenscroft “Ones to Watch” prize.

David completed a one month residency at Shakespeare’s Globe where he directed scenes from Shakespeare’s contemporaries on the main stage. He went on to direct productions at prestigious venues in Scotland.

David is passionate about making theatre widely accessible, entertaining and emotionally resonant. He intends to work in a multitude of styles with those values in mind.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award allowed David to undertake his MA in Classical and Contemporary Text (directing) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Glory on Earth

"This scholarship opened the door to tuition that has fundamentally changed my practice as a director for the better."

2015 Awardee: Ryan Hunter

The Award has liberated me and allowed me to study at the most prestigious drama school in the world. Thank you.

Biography

Growing up on the Southside of Glasgow, Ryan Hunter is the youngest of five siblings, and the first to become an actor rather than a musician.

Ryan took music lessons at St Roch’s Secondary School in Royston, where he played the fiddle, drums and bodhran.  He performed across Scotland, England and Ireland with the school’s Ceili band, before taking to the stage with the PACE Youth Theatre in Paisley. From there he was accepted into the Musical Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood.

During his time at Knightswood, Ryan performed at the Citizens Theatre to much acclaim.  In his second year he gained a role in the comedic film ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’, acting alongside David Tennant, Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly.

On completion of the course, Ryan stayed in Glasgow and busked beside the Donald Dewar statue on Sauchiehall Street while auditioning for roles.  He gained a place in a touring production with Hopscotch Theatre Company, which he completed whilse auditioning for drama schools.

After a gruelling four-round audition process for RADA, Ryan was one of just 28 students out of 4,000 applicants who gained a coveted place.  This offered an exceptional opportunity to study his craft at a most prestigious school.

Intelligent and well read, Ryan takes a serious and committed interest in his work as an actor. He has charisma on stage and screen, and looks set to be an excellent ambassador for Scottish arts in his future career.

How the Award Helped

Ryan’s Award enabled him to accept his hard-won place to study at RADA.

The Award has liberated me and allowed me to study at the most prestigious drama school in the world. Thank you.

2014 Awardee: Martin Quinn

It is no exaggeration to say that I would find it impossible to train at Guildhall without the support of the Dewar Arts Award. Needless to say, I am very grateful!

Biography

A proud Scottish actor, Martin grew up in the Gallowhill area of Paisley, where he was a member of drama groups from the age of six.  From early beginnings at his local youth theatre PACE, Martin went on to attend the Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT).

Through the SYT, Martin gained experience in devising and performing interactive shows for children and also auditioned for the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Let the Right One In. He landed the lead role of Oskar and went on to perform at the Dundee Rep, the Royal Court Theatre and the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Whilst performing in the West End, Martin auditioned for drama school and gained a place at the illustrious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

How the Award Helped

Martin was granted an award to support his studies at Guildhall, where at the outset he reported:

“This training is really pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to take on new challenges such as Shakespeare and eventually TV and Radio modules. It will equip me with the vocal skills and physical fitness necessary for a varied career as well as building up my confidence so that I can enter the industry with the strongest skillset I am capable of. Only a few months in and already I can see how this three year course should make me ultimately more attractive to employers.”

Let the Right One In – National Theatre of Scotland

It is no exaggeration to say that I would find it impossible to train at Guildhall without the support of the Dewar Arts Award. Needless to say, I am very grateful!

2014 Awardee: Jamie O’Rourke

"The Dewar Arts Award has helped me with financial constraints which otherwise may have prevented me from entering into study and enjoying all the benefits that entails."

Biography

Born in Falkirk, Jamie took an interest in theatre and performing arts from a young age.   He began in amateur theatre and moved up the ranks to assistant director before working with local companies.  At the age of 18 he founded his own company, Project Theatre, and took on the roles of Artistic Director, Producer and Productions Director.

Jamie has acted as Secretary of the Falkirk District Arts and Civic Council and has won a number of awards for services to drama and young people, including the Young Scot Award, Falkirk Civic Award and the Young Personality of the Year Award.  He has worked as a voluntary manager of local heritage ghost walks and is a founder of Scottish Community Arts – an organisation that works to promote and provide publicity for amateur and community organisations across Scotland.

In 2014, Jamie was accepted onto the BA Contemporary Performance Practice course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  This enabled him to continue his studies and develop the skills necessary to achieve his ambitions as an arts professional.

How the Award Helped

Jamie received a Dewar Arts Award to support his studies at the RCS.

"The Dewar Arts Award has helped me with financial constraints which otherwise may have prevented me from entering into study and enjoying all the benefits that entails."