Why the Olivier awards for Black Watch matter for Scotland

Great to see that Black Watch was recognised at the Olivier Awards last night as best new play.  An accolade justly deserved for National Theatre Of Scotland, Greg Burke, John Tiffany and the actors and creative team.  Black Watch has won many awards but there are two aspects of the Olivier awards which make this unique.

Firstly, because they are highly prestigious,  awarded only to theatre in London,  the theatre capital of the world.  Black Watch was judged against plays in the West End, Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakepeare Company and other stars of the theatre world and found to be the best.  This award establishes NTS, only 3 years old, as a major player in the elite theatrical league.  And that matters for Scotland .  It was a leap of faith by the Scottish Government to create NTS as a non building based company.  The model came from the theatre community itself – it wasn’t a top -down policy driven venture.     And the most important decision that the founding board directors made (myself included) was to appoint the leader with the vision, to take the risk. In appointing the young English woman, VickyFeatherstone, as the first Director of NTS, we went against the expectation that we would appoint a more usual suspect. 

Secondly, the awards include categories for creative specialisms, recognising the importance of excellence in various specialisms which are part of the creative team.  In recognising Gareth Fry for Best Sound Design  and Steven Hoggett as  Best Theatre Choreographer, as well as John Tiffany as  Best Director, the Olivier judges are recognising the extended excellence of our team.

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