2006 Awardee: Jennifer McVey

I would like to cultivate more links between the thriving theatre scene in Scotland and on Broadway and off-Broadway, allowing artists to cross over between the two more easily. I am very excited about the emergence of the National Theatre of Scotland

Biography

Jennifer McVey, whose Glasgow roots go back generations, has been involved in the arts and theatre from a very young age. As a child she studied dance, singing and the violin, and was a member of both the Inverclyde Youth Theatre and the Scottish Youth Theatre.

Jennifer gained a degree in English and Theatre Studies at Glasgow University followed by a year working at the renowned Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow. From there she was accepted on an internship with Signature Theatre, New York and then, after successful audition, she was one of 20 students accepted onto the Master of Fine Arts (Acting) course at the New School for Drama (formerly Actors’ Studio Drama School), New York. Former alumni of the School include Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Robert de Niro and Meryl Streep.

According to the Director of the School, Jennifer’s audition was ‘a real stand-out’. “I’ve seen it all” he writes, but Jennifer stood out as possessing “an originality of talent and the brightest of futures for any incoming candidate.”

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Awards is contributing towards the first year of Jennifer’s studies.

After a successful first two years at the New School for Drama, where her tutor writes  that ‘her ability to absorb and make her own concepts and approaches to subtle psychological nuances in characterisation, relationship and emotional depth separate her from scores of other [drama students]’, Jennifer’s award has been extended for a third and final year.

Since the Award

Jennifer graduated from New School of Drama, New York in May 2009. She immediately launched into auditions, was signed up by two agents and cast in a workshop production of a new musical based on the Nicholas Sparks novel ‘The Notebook’. She is also a founding member of a new theatre company of young actors, ABroad Stage Company (see www.abroadstageco.com). Jennifer writes, “I feel that my three years at the New School were absolutely invaluable for me and the training has really shaped me as an actor and given me a solid basis from which to grow and develop into the artist I am going to be.”

I would like to cultivate more links between the thriving theatre scene in Scotland and on Broadway and off-Broadway, allowing artists to cross over between the two more easily. I am very excited about the emergence of the National Theatre of Scotland

2005 Awardee: Anthony Schrag

I received an acceptance letter from the Dewar Arts Awards... and am not sure if I've stopped jumping for joy yet!!

Biography

Anthony’s down-to-earth approach enables him to engage and enthuse many people who would not normally describe themselves as fans of either ‘performance’ or ‘contemporary’ art. His work and the way he works is all about valuing the human spirit and enhancing the quality of life.

Anthony was born in Zimbabwe and moved around the world with his family during his early years, eventually settling in Canada. He came to Scotland to take up a place on the Master of Fine Art course at the Glasgow School of Art.

Anthony works with big emotional concepts in ways that are able to engage and interest the ordinary guy in the street, and indeed he has engaged people from all walks of life in his work.  He is the antithesis of the ‘ivory tower’ artist in desiring to reach as wide an audience as possible with his work.

Writing about live art practitioners, Anthony says that one of the difficulties an artist faces is “time to develop, time to experiment, and a space in which to try, to succeed and, importantly, to fail – for it is through our mistakes that we grow.”

The award helped Anthony to safely explore the edges of his current practice and to expand them.

How the Award Helped

Anthony received a Dewar Arts Award to enable him to take part in a number of prestigious international exhibitions. Because his work is performative and live, Anthony has to be present in order to exhibit. His Award enabled him to accept these invitations.

Since the Award

Subsequently Anthony was invited to do two separate residencies in Iceland, thanks in part to the recognition of the Dewar Award.

I received an acceptance letter from the Dewar Arts Awards... and am not sure if I've stopped jumping for joy yet!!

2004 Awardee: Sally Reid

With the advent of Scotland's first national theatre company, it is an exciting time to be working in theatre in Scotland, and I hope to be able to contribute to the success of our theatre industry

Biography

Originally from Perth, Sally has been hailed as one of the brightest young actors currently on the Scottish theatre scene.

As a very young actor, she appeared in several productions at Glasgow’s Citizens’ Theatre, including the award-winning show Top Girls and impressed the artistic director as being someone with huge potential to become a major talent. It was while Sally was working at the Citz that she was nominated for an award. She was encouraged by Giles Havergal to use it to fund herself through an intensive acting course for young professional actors in Chicago.

Sally was accepted onto the course at the internationally-acclaimed ensemble company Steppenwolf Theatre. Famous alumni of the company include John Malkovich, Terry Johnson and Gary Sinise.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award funded Sally to study at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

Since the Award

Sally writes: “The three months that I spent with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago proved to be even more rewarding than I had hoped for. I attended so many challenging classes with such a wide range of skilled practitioners that I really felt I was growing as an actor on a daily basis.”

On her return to Glasgow, Sally was cast in the musical “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” which she found a daunting prospect. She says, “had I not been working with the Steppenwolf Company, I may have been quite intimidated by this experience, but I revelled in the chance to put some of my new skills into action.”

Sally has since performed regularly in National Theatre of Scotland productions.

With the advent of Scotland's first national theatre company, it is an exciting time to be working in theatre in Scotland, and I hope to be able to contribute to the success of our theatre industry