THE illustrious history of one of Edinburgh’s best-loved art galleries with a still-uncertain future was marked at the Festival Theatre on Saturday morning as Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay presented this weeks’ Herald Angel awards for excellence.
In an emotional acceptance speech delivered with some assistance from the poet, Director and Curator of Exhibitions at Inverleith House, Paul Nesbitt, received the second of 2017’s Archangel awards, a year on from his show I Still Believe in Miracles, which celebrated 30 years of exhibitions at the gallery in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, a number of which had been Herald Angel-winners. When that show closed last October, it was announced that so would Inverleith House itself as a venue for exhibitions, sparking protests in the gardens and a campaign to reverse the decision in which The Herald has played a prominent part. With the awards on hiatus last year, but now revived in partnership with the Festival Theatre, it was time to recognise Nesbitt’s work, the quality of that retrospective exhibition, and the persuasive argument to save one of the city’s key arts venues.
The Archangel award concluded a morning to which Jackie Kay had added a sparkling presence, at the end of a week when she had also appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for a late evening Festival event, Had We Never, that combined her words with music, visual art and those of Robert Burns.
Receiving an Angel for the Outriders projects that teamed Scottish writers with writers from across the Americas and funded them to make inspiring journeys from the Arctic to Buenos Aires, Book Festival director Nick Barley praised the writing in The Herald for its quality coverage across the Edinburgh Festivals. The first fruits of the Outriders project were heard at a reunion of its participants at the Book Festival last week, with much more prose, poetry and drama to come.
A founder member of the Monteverdi Choir, and now board member of the organisation, John Smyth, received an Angel on behalf of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the choir and the English Baroque Soloists for the sensational performances of Monteverdi Operas seen and heard at the Usher Hall in the past week, and Corin Christopher, manager of Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema, collected an Angel for Cameo Live, a programme of free-to-attend film-inspired performances at the cinema by a partnership of artists from the UK and Portugal who were previously associated with the Forest Fringe. The final one, Mala Voadara and Chris Throrpe’s Your Best Guess runs every day this week except Wednesday.
Ellie Dubois and her all-female company of circus performers won an Angel for their Summerhall performance, No Show, which looks at exactly what it means to be a woman showing such physical power and dexterity when being strong and muscular are still often seen as contrary to being “feminine”, and young comedian Lauren Pattison was presented with an Angel for her debut Fringe show Lady Muck which continues at the Pleasance until a week today, and thanked The Herald for legitimising her choice of career in front of her parents, who were present.
Nova Scotia’s 2b Theatre Company made their second appearance at our awards, three years after stage manager Louisa Adamson won a Little Devil award for ensuring that the show went on despite suffering “mild electrocution”, to pick up an Angel for Old Stock, their musical theatre production narrated by Klezmer singer Ben Caplan. Their performance of a song from the show about Jewish Romanian refugees coming to Canada in 1908 brought our event to a lively conclusion after we had heard from this week’s Little Devil winner, artistic director of Cumbernauld Theatre, Ed Robson.
The company’s intimate two-hander at Summerhall, The Gardner, was nearly scuppered when thieves broke into their venue and stole the laptop that runs the technical side of the show. Working overnight to recreate weeks of work, however, meant that Crawford Logan and Nicola Roy missed not a single performance.
Robson generously co-credited the burglars for their part in securing the award.
Source : HeraldScotland