Wrestling and e-mail star in arts shortlist

A PLAY which centres on a wrestling match, a dance piece about fear of the dark and a film about how e-mail has taken over from letter writing are in the running for awards from Scotland's new arts body.

• Douglas Gordon hopes to collaborate with Alasdair Gray and Robert Hodgens on a documentary

Creative Scotland has shortlisted 16 arts projects for a share in 500,000 of funding for the Vital Spark Awards, which will be announced in March.

The awards are intended to encourage collaborations and to show the breadth of creative imagination at work in different branches of the arts in Scotland.

Ewan Brown, chair of the interim body which will become Creative Scotland, said: "The Vital Spark Awards were intended to stretch and challenge traditional creative boundaries and the 16 shortlisted projects are excellent illustrations of the breadth and depth of Scotland's collective imagination. They are all intriguing and fascinating collaborations. The hard part now will be choosing the winners."

Among the proposals is a collaboration between Turner Prize winning artist turned film maker Douglas Gordon, who hopes to direct a film inspired by the 1936 documentary Night Mail.

The original voice-over included part of a poem by WH Auden as images showed postmen at work sorting letters on the night train between London and Glasgow. The new version will feature words by Alasdair Gray and music from Bobby Bluebell and will show how computers have transformed the way we communicate.

The shortlist also included a proposal from visual artist Martin Boyce, who wishes to team up with composer Raymond MacDonald and film director David MacKenzie to create new works which can adapt to gallery, concert hall and cinema spaces.

Cartoonist and artist David Shrigley plans to team up with theatre director Nicholas Bone and composer David Fennessy to propose a theatre piece involving animation.

Also on the shortlist is a proposal by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company to create a large-scale musical event based on the siege of Leningrad and a project conceived by musician Ziggy Campbell to create a constantly evolving piece of music which changes with every album.

Poets Ken Cockburn and Alec Finlay wish to develop a poetic atlas of journeys across Scotland which will be made available for free via the internet while artist Mandy McIntosh and composer Kaffe Matthews propose to make an artist conceived shelter for stargazers in Galloway Forest.

Other projects include a proposal for a public art work in Dunbar Harbour; a choreographed piece based on nyctophobia (fear of the dark); and a promenade piece based on the 1960s Stanford University "Marshmallow test" for four-year olds.

Playwright Rob Drummond hopes to use his award to train as a professional wrestler in order to create a theatre piece and a documentary which centres around a real fight while theatre artist Laura Cameron Lewis hopes to stage an interactive month-long performance which will invite its audience to search for clues on the internet.

Anita Clark, who project managed the Vital Spark Awards on behalf of Creative Scotland, and is head of dance at the Scottish Arts Council, said: "It was fantastic to see a mix of both established creative professionals, alongside some of our younger talent. It was difficult to narrow it down to 16, as there were so many exciting ideas, but we hope that some of the other projects will find support to realise their ambitions."

The Vital Spark Awards encourage collaborations between artists working in different disciplines.

Experimentation, radical new work and imaginative and innovative approaches to engaging with audiences are essential characteristics of the shortlisted projects.

More than 100 entries were received for consideration for the awards, which will be announced in March.

Gordon to explore modern communication

AWARD-winning visual artist-turned-film maker Douglas Gordon hopes to collaborate with writer Alasdair Gray and musician Robert Hodgens, aka Bobby Bluebell, on a documentary inspired by 1936 movie Night Mail.

Producer John Archer of Hopscotch Films says: "Douglas and Bobby have wanted to work together for some time."

The new work will look at how computers and e-mail have overtaken letters and shape the way in which we communicate today.

PLAYWRIGHT and performer Rob Drummond plans to train as a wrestler in order to create a new theatre work featuring a real fight as a part of the narrative.

Film maker Lindsay Goodall will create a documentary following the playwright's journey into the ring. Drummond says he hopes the collaboration will shed light on the role of violence in society as well as its continuing role as entertainment.

THEATRE artist Laura Cameron Lewis plans to work with IT developers on a month-long Edinburgh performance in which the audience unlock the narrative through clues hidden on the internet. She says: "It will involve text messages, music, films on YouTube, blogs, art installations, posters and performances on the street. It is about how information is disseminated, how narratives are generated and what that means for the world we live in."

Back to the top of the page