Nicola Benedetti to play at Creative Scotland’s awards despite row over male jury

Violin star Nicola Benedetti will play at the controversial awards ceremony
Violin star Nicola Benedetti will play at the controversial awards ceremony
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CLASSICAL music star Nicola Benedetti has agreed to perform at Creative Scotland’s controversial awards ceremony in Glasgow this week.

The virtuoso violinist, below, is expected to be the most high-profile artist to appear at the event, which was criticised because of the £30,000 being spent on it by the quango, and the fact its shortlist was drawn up by an all-male prize jury.

Comedian Fred MacAulay and “Gaelic supergroup” Manran will also be performing at the black-tie event at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow on Thursday night.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop is expected to attend the ceremony, which is part of the government-backed Year of Creative Scotland.

However, two of Creative Scotland’s harshest critics – playwright David Greig and author Janice Galloway – have revealed they will not be there, despite being nominated for awards.

It will be held be less than a fortnight after it emerged chief executive Andrew Dixon had resigned following months of criticism of the agency.

On Friday, Creative Scotland’s board revealed plans for a dramatic overhaul of the agency and admitted a string of failings.

Long-term funding schemes are to be revived, controversial strategic commissioning schemes are being dropped, a review of senior management structure is to be carried out and artists will be more involved in the drawing up of policies.

David Greig has helped secure two nominations, for his involvement with multi-art form project Whatever Gets You Through The Night, which is in the running for the theatre award for the Arches, and his play The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, which has helped win the National Theatre of Scotland a nomination in the “arts ambassador” category.

Janice Galloway is in the running for the literature award after a year which has already seen her win the Scottish Book of the Year award for All Made Up, although she was involved in a spat with Creative Scotland after being asked to change comments on an announcement that she had won.

She said: “I’m going to be in Berlin on Thursday, doing a bit of work but also taking in the Christmas markets. I don’t think I’d have gone even I had been here, as the last awards experience I had was so nightmarish. I think I’d rather let water pass under the bridge.”

Mr Greig, who has praised last week’s announcement from the Creative Scotland board, added: “I made a decision a few weeks ago not to go and I think it would be a bit hypocritical to go now.

“However I do feel people who are nominated are entitled to feel proud and I would not like to cast ill will towards anyone who goes along.”

Among the high-profile nominees are Celtic Connections’ artistic director Donald Shaw, writer Ewan Morrison, indie favourites Frightened Rabbit and Admiral Fallow, composer Patrick Doyle, singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni and actor Paul Brannigan, star of The Angels’ Share.