About the Panel and Mentors

Judging Panel
Andy Arnold (Tron), Jay Smith (ESP), Peter Mullan, Vicky Featherstone (NTS), Keith Bruce (The Herald), Janice Forsyth (Chair, BBC Scotland), David Greig, David Harrower, Julie Ellen (Playwrights’ Studio)

Mentors
Zinnie Harris,  Nicola McCartney, Alison Peebles

Andy Arnold was appointed to the post of Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in 2008 following a long stint at the Arches Theatre in Glasgow – a theatre company and arts centre he personally established in 1991. During that time he staged a prolific number of Arches Theatre productions combining little known classics from Beckett, Pinter, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neill alongside such site specific and devised work as Dante’s Inferno, Beowulf and a one-to-one show set in toilet cubicles, Spend a Penny.

His first production for the Tron Theatre Company, The Drawer Boy, was highly acclaimed and since then he has also directed That Face, Cooking with Elvis, Bliss, Mud, Defender of the Faith (UK Premiere), Six Acts of Love (World Premiere), Suddenly Last Summer & Like the Rain for the Tron Theatre Company and devised and directed Monaciello for the Napoli Teatro Festival Italia in June this year.


Keith Bruce is arts editor of The Herald, but has been going to the theatre since Leslie Crowther was in the Fol de Rols. He studied Drama alongside English Language and Literature and Scots Literature at Glasgow University and wrote his first Fringe theatre reviews for D C Thomson’s stable of newspapers shortly thereafter. His first Herald reviews appeared during Mayfest while he was employed as a sub-editor on the paper, before the city and his career were transformed by Glasgow’s designation as European City of Culture in 1990. After writing about that annus mirabilis on a daily basis as a Herald reporter, he became arts editor in 1994.

In 1995 he succeeded Janice Forsyth as presenter of Scottish Television’s arts magazine Don’t Look Down and he has also written scripts for BBC Scotland’s screen biography series Hollywood Greats. A founder director of Glasgow Jazz Festival, he owns his own saxophone.


Julie Ellen trained as an actor at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University College before working extensively as an actor and director in Scotland and London. Creative Director of the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland in March 2004. The past four years have been an extraordinary time for her, moving from being an actor and producer into helping others to realise their own artistic ambitions. Julie's recent achievements include directing a reading of Kathy McKean's Lie to Me and, also, Kieran Lynne's Stranger from the Sea which was part of the New Writing New Worlds Festival 2007.


Vicky Featherstone is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland for whom she has directed Cockroach by Sam Holcoft (a co-production with the Traverse Theatre), 365 (a co-production with the Edinburgh International Festival), Mary Stuart (Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh) and co-directed The Wolves In The Walls (Tramway, Lyric Hammersmith, UK tour and New Victory Theater, New York).

In Autumn 2009 she directed Long Gone Lonesome, created by Duncan McLean and the Lone Star Swing Band which is touring village halls in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Recent awards include: Tastemaker of the Year at the Scottish Style Awards 2007 and The Wolves In The Walls won the TMA Award for Best Children’s Show in 2006.


Janice Forsyth has been a key figure in Glasgow’s arts and media scene for many years. After graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in English Literature and Drama she went on to form part of the original team behind Glasgow’s Mayfest before moving into newspapers, television and radio. She currently presents the Janice Forsyth Show and The Radio Café on BBC Radio Scotland.


David Greig was born in Edinburgh in 1969 and co-founded the Suspect Culture Theatre group with Graham Eatough in 1990 in Glasgow. His first play was produced in 1992 in Glasgow following which he secured commissions from Royal Court, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.  His plays have also been translated and produced throughout Europe, The USA and Canada, Brazil, Australia and Japan. From 2005 to 2007 he was the first dramaturg of the National Theatre of Scotland.


Zinnie Harris is a playwright, screenwriter and director. Her plays include Fall (Traverse Theatre), Solstice (RSC), Midwinter (RSC and tour), Nightingale and Chase (Royal Court), Further From the Furthest Thing (Traverse Theatre, Tron Theatre, National Theatre and Tricycle Theatre – Peggy Ramsay Foundation Award, Fringe First Award and John Whiting Award) and By Many Wounds (Hampstead Theatre). Harris adapted Miss Julie for the National Theatre of Scotland in 2006 and A Doll’s House for the Donmar Warehouse (2009).

David Harrower lives and writes in Glasgow. He has written several plays including Knives in Hens, Kill the Old, Torture Their Young and Blackbird which won the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland and the Olivier Award for Best Play in 2007. He has adapted many plays including Buchner’s Woyzeck, Chekhov’s Ivanov, Brecht’s The Good Soul of Szechuan and Pirandello`s Six Characters in Search of an Author and Schiller`s Mary Stuart for, among others, the National Theatre, the Young Vic, the Royal Lyceum and the National Theatre of Scotland.


Nicola McCartney was Playwright in Residence at the University of Ulster and Artistic Director of Glasgow-based new writing theatre company, lookOUT from 1992 to 2002. Originally from Belfast, she trained as a director with the Northern Irish Women’s theatre company, Charabanc and now lives and works in Glasgow. She has written and directed the acclaimed plays, Laundry, Easy, Entertaining Angels, The Hanging Tree, Transatlantic, and Home.


Peter Mullan works internationally and is currently filming the last Harry Potter film. He was interested in directing films at the age of 19 and he made several shorts. As he wasn't admitted to the National Film School, he decided to dedicate himself to acting, and made his debut in the theatre in 1988 including parts at the Tron Theatre before moving to cinema and television. His films as an actor include Trainspotting, Braveheart, Riff Raff, Young Adam and most notably My Name Is Joe for which he won the Best Leading Actor prize at Cannes in 1998.

Peter is also an award winning writer and director. His films include: Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters (for which won the European Union Media Prize, the ALFS award for Best British Director and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for, amongst others, a Cesar award, the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTAs, and Best Screenplay BAFTA.


Alison Peebles is a Director and Actor. Her production of The Steamie by Tony Roper is currently on a sellout tour of Scotland. Other directing work includes National Theatre of Scotland; several productions at Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint seasons; Dundee Rep; Theatre Hebrides; Tramway; Royal Lyceum; Communicado Theatre Company and Tron Theatre in a co-production with her own company V.amp Productions. She has directed an award-winning Feature Film; short films; TV and several Plays for BBC Radio. As an actor she works in Film and TV as well as Theatre, throughout UK and has performed many times at The Tron Theatre. Alison co-produced and featured in her own documentary- Multiple (Merit Award - Chicago International Film Festival; Silver Remi Award - Worldfest Houston, Texas; Superfest International Disability Film Festival - Berkeley, California.)

She has taught at RSAMD, Screen Academy, Edinburgh Art College, Actors Centre, London, Glasgow Media Access Centre and Reid Kerr College.

Jay Smith trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Jay has worked extensively in Theatre, Television and Film in a variety of positions: Actor, Director, Producer. This included central roles in classic Scottish Dramas such as Sutherland’s Law and High Road with more recent parts in Taggart and Midsomer Murders. His theatre work included terms with the Royal Lyceum, Dundee Rep, the Citizens’ Theatre and many touring productions.

With a varied skills base in the Arts, Jay diversified to work extensively in further education, business development and then as consultant. In 2000 he formed Employment Enterprise to deliver key government regeneration and employability programmes throughout Scotland. 2005 saw the creation of a second company and a return to the arts with Enterprise Screen Productions (ESP). ESP is a media production company delivering film, interactive and promotional content to a wide range of clients across all sectors.  

 

 
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