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Showing posts from February, 2021

Sam Trotman - Taking Care at Scottish Sculpture Workshop

The snow fell deep recently on Scottish Sculpture Workshop, the Aberdeenshire based centre of ‘making and thinking’ that celebrated its fortieth anniversary just a few short months before the first lockdown brought on by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While the latter has forced SSW to temporarily close to the public in line with social distancing regulations, neither Covid nor the elements have prevented SSW director Sam Trotman and her team from making plans for what might turn out to be a very different future.    This is clear from the just announced series of residencies that will see SSW collaborate with Glasgow based contemporary music festival, Counterflows. With artists Laura Bradshaw, Chris Dooks and Hang Linton taking part, the series focuses in different ways on notions of caregiving, what such concerns bring to the artistic process, and vice versa.    The caregivers residency programme has been a long held ambition for SSW, and chime with a recent survey by Scottish Contem

Alan Igbon - An Obituary

Alan Igbon – Actor Born May 29, 1952; died December 9, 2020     Alan Igbon, who has died of pneumonia aged 68, was an actor who made his mark on television with charismatic swagger. He did this latterly through a short tenure in ITV soap, Coronation Street (2003), as Tony Stewart, the estranged father of regular character Jason Grimshaw.   Arguably Igbon’s most significant appearance, however, came in Alan Bleasdale’s play, The Black Stuff (1980) and its seismic five-part sequel, Boys from the Black Stuff (1982). Charting the fortunes of a gang of Liverpool labourers on the dole, all but one of the plays was written prior to Margaret Thatcher’s election as UK Prime Minister. They nevertheless chimed with a rise in unemployment and a calculated ideological assault on working class communities.   Igbon played Loggo Logmond, the cocksure cynic of the group, who works the system, even as he mouthily squares up to the authorities. While Igbon appeared in all five episodes, Loggo’s personal

Christopher Plummer - An Obituary

Christopher Plummer – Actor   Born December 13, 1929; died February 5, 2021      Christopher Plummer, who has died aged 91, was an Oscar winning actor whose embodiment of suave and urbane sophistication made him a captivating presence on both stage and screen. This was evident in what is probably still his best-known role, as Captain von Trapp in the big screen version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (1965). While the taciturn authority that eventually gave way to avuncular compassion partly defined him in one of the biggest box office smashes ever, Plummer’s range had infinitely much more to offer, as he knew only too well.   As a reluctant matinee idol and heart-throb, Plummer actively resisted the film’s worldwide acclaim, dismissing it as ‘S&M’ and ‘The Sound of Mucus’, and not taking part in the film’s fortieth anniversary celebrations. He eventually softened, however, recognising the film’s appeal enough to appear with the rest of the cast on The Oprah Winfrey

Hal Holbrook - An Obituary

Hal Holbrook – Actor Born February 17, 1925; died January 23, 2021      Hal Holbrook, who has died aged 95, was a Tony and Emmy award winning actor, who carried a quiet authority in everything he appeared in. This came with added menaces for his iconic cameo in All the President’s Men, Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film about the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s American presidency.    Holbrook played Deep Throat, the shadowy informant who meets investigative journalist Bob Woodward, played by Robert Redford, in an underground car park. With Holbrook’s face barely visible in the three brief but intense scenes shared by the pair, Deep Throat teases out his secrets in a cigarette charged rasp that changes the course of American history.    It was a role Holbrook initially turned down. Only when Redford suggested it would be the thing about Pakula’s film that would be remembered most did he accept. With the pair’s noirish exchanges breaking up the film’s newsroom whirl, Redford

Ann Reinking - An Obituary

Ann Reinking – Dancer, Choreographer, Actor   Born November 10, 1949: died December 12, 2020      Ann Reinking, who has died aged 71, was a dancer and choreographer who lit up the stage with unbridled sensuality. While forever be associated with seminal American choreographer Bob Fosse, Reinking brought her own style and personality to her uninhibited moves.   As a choreographer, she won a Tony award for her 1996 revival of Chicago, which she had first appeared in as a dancer almost twenty years earlier. With a nod to the show’s original director, Reinking’s work was described as ‘in the style of Bob Fosse’, as she picked up the Fosse mantle with a series of updated routines.   The connection continued with Fosse (1998), a revue of her former creative and romantic partner’s greatest hits. Reinking conceived, co-directed and co-choreographed the show, which won a Tony for best musical. Its West End transfer saw Reinking win an Olivier for best choreography. The show’s success was the pi

Tom Laurie - An Obituary

Tom Laurie OBE – Surveyor, arts champion    Born November 11, 1938; died December 23, 2020   Tom Laurie, who has died aged 82, was a quantity surveyor, who helped transform Scotland’s cultural landscape both physically and creatively. He played an integral part in the founding of Cumbernauld Theatre, and was key to the setting up of  WASPS Studios at a time when affordable studio provision for artists was hard to find. He was Chair of the Traverse Theatre during one of Edinburgh’s new writing theatre’s golden periods, and brought artistic life  to every project he was involved in.   One of Laurie’s finest achievements was in the development and subsequent transformation of Glasgow’s Merchant City. Setting up office in the city’s old fish market that would soon become the Briggait Centre, and sharing a space with trade union founded arts festival, Mayfest, he would map out plans that would transform a once derelict inner city area into a vibrant hive of activity.   A particular focus ca