Debates over the integrity and the future of Scottish culture have come fast and furious these past few months. But just as important as the political rights and wrongs of administering a country’s artistic culture are the individuals who make up that jigsaw.
Within the past year the theatre community in Scotland has had the thumbs up for a National Theatre, while many of the main producing houses, such as the Citz in Glasgow and the Lyceum in Edinburgh, have had a change of artistic personnel at the very top.
Last month Scottish film was being showcased among the glitz of the Cannes film festival, where the movie Dear Frankie and its stars were the toast of the event.
In the past couple of weeks Scottish Ballet have shown off their youngest and brightest stars of the future and spoken of their hopes that a Scots Darcy Bussell will emerge from their ranks. And this coming Tuesday, in a New York theatre, the 21-year-old Scottish star of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Sean Biggerstaff, will show why Scottish artists really are taking over the world as he joins in an ensemble reading before turning his attention to his role in the new film to be produced by Ridley Scott.
But what of the future, we cry? A national theatre, a film industry brimming with success, a contemporary dance scene with big aspirations and an array of talent making their mark at home and abroad in front of and behind the scenes - they are the future of Scottish culture.
After consulting critics, industry shapers and insiders, we have come up with 50 of the most important members of the new generation of talent. They have all made at the very least an initial mark on their area of expertise, but they make it into this list because they are full of that most unique of qualities - promise.
Contemporary art gallery owner and former art critic, Beaumont’s arrival on the commercial scene in Scotland has upped the ante for artists and administrators alike. Edinburgh’s doggerfisher gallery has seen the likes of Claire Barclay, Jonathan Owen and Janice McNab come to wide attention - not least Barclay, who will have a solo show at Tate Modern.
Despite the protestations of kids around the country, classical music isn’t just the preserve of an older crowd. This 16-year-old West-Kilbride lass has been playing the violin since the age of four, recently became the first Scottish musician to win the coveted title of BBC Young Musician of the Year and looks set to rejuvenate the image of her chosen genre.
Born in Newfoundland, Canada, in 1971, Bennett has over the years become a strong symbol of Scottish culture through his blend of ethnic beats with dance music and Scottish folk tradition. In November 2000 Martyn was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Unfortunately, after having gone through a year of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the cancer returned. In the beginning of January 2002 he underwent a major operation to remove his spleen which was found to have a tumour. He then began a radical course of chemotherapy followed by stem-cell transplant. While receiving treatment, he managed to finish an album of songs in Gaelic, Glen Lyon. The follow-up, last year’s GRIT, showcased once and for all his strength of will and talent in what stands as his most important work.
Recently involved in the creation of the Glasgow Film unit and a director of Sigma films, Berrie is the quiet woman of Scottish film, much like the stars she has brought to the big time, such as Shirley Henderson. Berrie has taken advantage of Scotland’s film links with countries such as Denmark and is perhaps better recognised there than in her home country. Her involvement with the film unit will bring her to the top table of film wheeling and dealing in Scotland, so she might struggle to stay so quiet from now on.
Who needs Harry Potter? Not this guy. Biggerstaff may have played quidditch team lead in Chamber of Secrets, but the 21-year-old is happily moving on to other things. A theatre reading at the Edinburgh Fringe last year of the script 12th Premise was quickly followed by various production groups expressing interest in taking the show further. Finally, a team came together to take it to its West End debut. Before he knew it, Biggerstaff was in Los Angeles. The London reading took place in March, but he will be lining up in New York this week alongside Tom Guiry (Mystic River) and Jeffrey Carlson (Taboo, The Goat and Who’s Sylvia) at the Producers Club Grand Theatre. Biggerstaff also has a part in Cashback - the debut film by photographer turned director Sean Ellis, who directed All Saints’ ‘Never Ever’ video and has had both his short film Left Turn, and Cashback produced by Ridley Scott’s company, RSA.
As if fronting a band which supported Blur and Radiohead isn’t cool enough, Bissett decided to focus her attentions on a career in the theatre instead. The ex-RSAMD student, who can now be seen regularly in lead roles for theatres such as the Arches, Glasgow and Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, had a recent brief stint at the Almeida in London and is hopeful of a move into film work. Until that time, she remains one of the brightest young performers on the Scottish stage.
Give the Anstruther girl her due, Bowman stuck in when it was obvious to all that C4’s RISE, was a disaster. A move to prime-time Radio 1 has meant she is now officially a premiere league player in yoof radio for the masses.
Fruitmarket Gallery director Bradley has come from the Hayward gallery in London. A former academic with a special interest in surrealism, who moved into curating following a part-time job teaching at the Tate in London and co-curating projects with Katrina Brown at DCA, Bradley has recently overseen the re-branding and regeneration of one of Edinburgh’s main galleries. The current exhibition of Nathan Coley work has consolidated any investment of faith still wavering.
A name known to theatre professionals in the past through his work as artistic director of TAG theatre company, Brining also took a member role in the Independent Working Group which examined in detail the requirements of theatre professionals and theatregoers, and which consulted widely with regard to the proposed model for the National Theatre of Scotland between mid-2000 and May 2001. He had big shoes to fill when he replaced Hamish Glen at Dundee Rep last year. Since then, he has brought the company’s ensemble cast great success with productions of David Kane’s Dumbstruck!, the musical Flora the Red Menace and the recent show in the round Scenes From an Execution.
Since her previous work at the Tate Liverpool, as well as at Glasgow’s Tramway and Transmission, 36-year-old Katrina Brown has curated several important shows at the DCA since it opened in 1999, including Here + Now, a retrospective of 1990s Scottish art, and the recent highly acclaimed Richard Wright exhibition. The DCA is one of Scotland’s top centres for contemporary arts, and this is due in no small part to the vision and pioneering attitude of its curator.
Writer in residence and fellow in creative writing at Dundee University. The 34-year-old was born in Derry, and worked in London as a bookseller and editor. Having received an Eric Gregory Award in 1995, she published her first collection, The Heel of Bernadette in 2000, and her second collection will be published this year. She is the winner of the National Poetry Competition 2003, which was worth 5,000.
Burke’s first fully-staged play, Gagarin Way, showcased a fresh young voice. It sold out its first run at the Traverse pretty much before it had had a full audience. Then came last year’s The Straits, where Burke further displayed a brilliant ear for political dialogue within the mundanity of the everyday. The play is still touring, much like its predecessor. We await news of new work.
Known for his good looks up until now, Butler’s career will go stratospheric this year as he takes up the lead role in Phantom, yes, the one made famous by Michael Crawford, as a blockbuster film version hits screens later this year. If that wasn’t enough, he plays a dishy, sensitive stand-in father in Scot flick Dear Frankie, which is guaranteed to have the nation swooning and asking for more.
Burnett lives in Edinburgh. His first novel, The Machine Doctor was shortlisted for Scottish Arts Council book of the year. New novel Odium is published in August, and will be launched at the Fringe as the highlight of a series of book events.
Director of the brilliant short film Cry for Bobo, he also produced the first film of Bafta-winner and Tartan Shorts director Morag McKinnon. Bobo was a Royal Television Society, Melies D’Argent and Jim Poole Award winner - oh, and it was Bafta-nominated. From Edinburgh College of Art, Cairns’ film has so far made more than 70 festival appearances in 30 countries, being seen by an estimated three million people across the globe. Look out for his new short film comedy The Return of Peg Leg Pete.
Visual Sciences, the Dundee developer behind Lemmings and the Formula 1 series of games, recruited Andy Campbell in 2002. Campbell is the founder of Red Lemon Studios and was brought in at Visual Sciences as its business development manager. He spent six years with Red Lemon, developing and marketing games versions of Braveheart and Aironauts, among others.
Ken Loach may have given him the thumbs-up in Sweet Sixteen, but Compston is carrying a lot of pressure on those 20-year-old shoulders. A forthcoming return to Monarch of the Glen in the autumn, should be followed by a substantial backing to his role in a new Icelandic film alongside Peter Capaldi and Gary Lewis.
Winner of last year’s Laurence Olivier Award for most promising new playwright thanks to his first work, F***ing Games, Cleugh joins Gregory Burke in the ranks of playwrights who went against the grain of their backgrounds. Before Cleugh was a writer he was a lawyer working for a law firm in Edinburgh. He wrote the play more or less on a whim and within months the Royal Court, London, was asking to stage it. Cleugh enrolled in a part-time acting programme in London, which eventually led to getting into drama school at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.
Forbes’ Raar are from the Black Isle and mix old school heavy metal with psychedelic surf, glam, new wave and surreal live performances. Their recently released Demozine issue #1 included music, video and a graphic novel all designed by the band and found them attempting to offer music fans something genuinely different within the often stodgy atmosphere of guitar music.
Gibb has had a remarkable year that is only set to get better. Last year’s film Afterlife was the toast of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and now her role as writer of another Scottish flick, Dear Frankie, will bring her out of the shadows and into the spotlight as a leading name among the current wave of successful Scottish film types.
This North Queensferry-based playwright has played a major part in Scotland’s theatrical scene for over 10 years. He has won numerous awards for his work, including Fringe Firsts, Herald Angels and a Critics Award for Outlying Islands, which won Best New Play in Scotland. His work has been translated and performed in more than 18 countries, and he is a co-founder of groundbreaking theatre company Suspect Culture with Graham Eatough and Nick Powell.
Soon to be known as Alexander the Great. RSAMD student Heughan, 22, came to recognition for his part in David Greig’s play Outlying Islands and will play the eponymous hero in Alexander the Great from Macedonia, the first part of a three-film biopic of the ancient hero planned by the veteran producer Ilya Salkind. If history repeats itself, the role could catapult Heughan to the top of the most-wanted list when it is released in October this year - the same month Hollywood producer Oliver Stone will release his biopic of Alexander, starring Colin Farrell. Salkind is best known in Hollywood as the producer who in 1978 spotted a young Christopher Reeve and made him a star overnight with his Superman trilogy.
Casting director Des Hamilton will further boost his credentials over the next few months as the film Dear Frankie, which was a big success at this year’s Cannes, takes pride of place at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August. Hamilton has been involved in supplying the acting talent for Morvern Callar and Young Adam and recently for major Anglo-American production The Yank, starring Elijah Wood.
Kelly, 33, lives in Edinburgh. His first work, The Book Of Lost Books is published next year by Penguin in the UK and Random House in the US. Kelly is already being tipped to be "the next Alain De Botton". His work is about real-life books that have been destroyed, lost, or were planned but never written.
Not all jazz music is made by balding musicians who sit around over copious whiskies discussing the wonders of a middle eight. At the age of 29, Niki King, UK Jazz Vocalist Of The Year 2001, is giving the genre a sexy new image, her soulful vocals and charismatic stage presence combining to assure her current status as one of Scotland’s most talented, versatile and confident singers.
Scotland’s success at last year’s Venice Biennale brought the wider public’s attention to the psychedelic flooring designs of Jim Lambie. An ex-student of Glasgow School of Art, Lambie’s involvement in the city’s music scene has considerable influence on his work, whether it is his use of actual objects such as record players, or record inserts and vinyl records, or the aesthetic of the music world.
Ken Loach’s screenwriter for his Greenock Trilogy (Bread and Roses, Carla’s Song, Sweet Sixteen), Laverty plays things pretty low key, but the Scot has helped produce a chapter of British film-making not only directed by one of our most credible talents, but also starring and supporting an array of independent acting souls such as Peter Mullan, Linus Roach and newcomer Martin Compston. The next thing he touches will be expected to go gold.
The new face of Scottish Ballet, Loosemore is among a new breed of dancer at the company being marketed as a sexy young face. Having trained in Australia, Loosemore arrived at Scottish Ballet as part of artistic director Ashley Page’s new regime and is set to achieve stardom as Scotland’s answer to Darcy Bussell.
As if being part of two of Scotland’s most revered indie outfits, the BMX Bandits and Teenage Fanclub, wasn’t enough, Francis MacDonald’s Shoeshine Records has introduced the world to the wonders of Laura Cantrell and The Beauty Shop among many others, and with a new Bandits record released on the label just last year, this stalwart of the Glasgow guitar music scene shows no signs of stopping.
It was quite a leap from short film-making to feature for the Young Adam director, but he pulled off last year’s hit Scottish film with aplomb and notable individual flair. Having teamed up with his brother (Monarch of the Glen actor Alasdair) for The Last Great Wilderness, the cinema release of his completed third feature, Asylum, written by Patrick Marber, should confirm his growing status.
Who says indie kids can’t dance? Craig Macintosh fronts the latest Glasgow outfit, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, who make infectious guitar pop. The release of their debut LP this summer will prove whether the critics are right in proclaiming them the best thing to come out of Scotland since Franz Ferdinand.
Success during the Edinburgh Fringe with his play Decky Does a Bronco focused attention on the playwright, 30, and guaranteed interest in Helmet and the EIFl commission Variety which followed. Helmet boasts the claim that 71% of the people who saw it in the Traverse had never been to the theatre before. Expect new work in autumn this year.
McDermott is still a hairdresser and karaoke singer, but after her role in the film version of Morvern Callar, she certainly has her options open. Three short films are in the pipeline and she will play Jenny Clow, in a new Burns film .
Now a key figure in Glasgow’s arts scene, Millican was responsible for developing New Moves, a festival of experimental dance, and also curated the National Review Of Live Art. New Territories brings the two events together under one umbrella and with each year she aims to push the boundaries within the realms of avant-garde performance and dance, and bring the most innovative companies to Scottish audiences.
MAY MILES THOMAS
Director of the first wholly digital feature film in the UK, One Night Stand. Thomas remains aloof from the general hub of openings, back-slappings and parties, preferring to plough her energies into the progress of technology within film. From Glasgow School of Art to assistant designer at BBC Television, she now owns her own production company.
We may have our fair share of guitar acts, pop star wannabes and DJs, but you don’t stumble over too many hip-hop successes from Scotland. This 24-year-old producer and Breastfed label-owner, AKA Myles MacInnes from the Isle of Skye, is set to change all that, with his original and eclectic sound currently making waves in the music industry.
Known primarily for her work with Malinky, this 33-year-old, Banknock-born vocalist has recently come into her own with her debut solo LP Faultlines. Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble declared himself a fan, and as well as working as a music tutor in community projects across Scotland, Polwart is opening up folk and trad music to a whole new audience. She was best Scots Singer at the Scottish Folk Awards 2003.
This 24-year-old Glaswegian star of Glasgow University’s Creative Writing Course recently received gushing reviews for her first short story collection, Whoever You Choose To Love. As she embarks on her career as a novelist, Paul looks set to carry on Scotland’s tradition for creating cutting edge literary talent.
Paterson is increasingly viewed as an artist recasting urban spaces and the mentalities that surround them for a new generation. His Royston Road project in Glasgow dealt with issues of art, youth and social inclusion. Paterson has recently been involved in similar projects for the city of Aberdeen.
This hardworking Scottish vocalist comes from a family of talented musicians with whom she often collaborates. However, it is her compelling delivery and interesting selection of songs from her solo performances and albums that have been winning over audiences in the jazz scene for the past seven years. Covering everyone from Nat King Cole to Elvis Costello, she is a true innovator of the Scottish scene.
Recognised for her unique stamp on Scottish film-making after the release of Ratcatcher then Morvern Callar, Ramsay fell silent. The director mysteriously dropped out of the project to film a version of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. As she controls her own press access, little is known about her whereabouts, but one suspects another project will rear its head over the next few months.
Artistic director of Scottish Dance Theatre, Smith has brought the company fantastic success, culminating in this year’s National Critics’ Circle Award for "outstanding company repertoire". World class choreographers are queuing up to work with the Dundee-based team and it’s all thanks to Smith’s passion.
Tunstall is Edinburgh-born, but moved to St Andrews as a child. She studied in London, formed her own band, Red Light Stylus, and put on music nights in Edinburgh’s Gilded Balloon. Now has a deal from Sony after a fierce bidding war. The singer songwriter, who is heavily influenced by Suzanne Vega, sees her debut album out this summer.
TWITCH AND WILKES
It may have been going since 1997, but club night Optimo is presently at its most popular with hundreds of clubbers cramming into Glasgow’s Sub Club every Sunday night for the DJs’ winning mix of techno and punk. JD Twitch and JG Wilkes also own their own record label, Oscarr, and as well as their night housing the nation’s hipsters they are singlehandedly responsible for keeping club culture alive and interesting.
As chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov finds himself the youngest conductor ever to have led a BBC Orchestra. Born in Israel, he has been wielding the baton since his early teens and his vast experience working with some of the best orchestras in the world has led to him being described by critics as one of the most significant conductors of his generation.
CHRIS VAN DER KUYL
President and chief executive of VIS entertainment plc, which this month was acquired by BAM! Entertainment Inc, Van Der Kuyl now reigns as president supreme over the games company. A graduate of the University of Dundee, he oversees the designs and development of interactive games software for major console platforms. The company has produced games from Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick, Tom & Jerry in War of the Whiskers and State Of Emergency. Van Der Kuyl is also currently Chairman of TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Associations).
Walker has been the principal conductor of the Paragon Ensemble since 2001. In addition to his post with the Ensemble he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2003. Walker’s youthful and accessible nature has re-awoken Scotland’s classical music scene and cleared the path for a more populist interest in the work of our national orchestras.
Not all young guitar acts are intent on spewing out an inaudible racket. This Glasgow-based singer with Unkle Bob, creates beautiful folky acoustic music, even throwing in the odd mandolin, tabla and djembe, and is quietly becoming one of the city’s ones to watch.
Creative writing chair at Strathclyde University, and author of The Cutting Room. That first novel made it to the stage within a year of publication and is now being made into film starring Robert Carlyle. Her forthcoming novel is a journey in the footsteps of Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine Must Die.
Since her first play Speedrun opened at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow six years ago, Edinburgh-based Isabel Wright has become one of Scotland’s most promising playwrights. Recent successes include Peepshow and Mr Placebo, both published by Oberon Books, Gilt and Emily’s House, and she has made real inroads as a writer for women.