Glasgow student wins award created by Outlander star Sam Heughan

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A play about three officers on a nuclear submarine has won a new award created by Outlander star Sam Heughan for students at his former drama school in Glasgow.

The Outlander star created the award, Write Start: The Sam Heughan Creative Commission, to inspire collaboration across disciplines at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

The winning play, Bucket Of Sunshine, was created by a second year BA Filmmaking student, John Black, who is collaborating with fellow second year film student, Sophia Ralston and Rachael Orr, a third year Production Arts and Design student.

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The play is about three naval officers in a Vanguard-class submarine, and Mr Black will receive a £5,000 bursary and mentoring from Heughan and industry experts to develop his work.

Sam Heughan, graduated from the BA Acting degree course in 2003 said: "Magic can happen when artists join forces to share ideas - it sparks inspiration and an outpouring of creativity. That's the whole ethos of Write Start - to see the potential in new ways of working, to take chances and for everyone to bring their own unique talents to the table.

"A spirit of collaboration runs through the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a place where people from all backgrounds, with a shared passion, come together under the same roof.

"Congratulations to all the entrants who impressed with their imagination and originality. Special mention goes to our first Write Start winner, John Black, together with Sophia Ralston and Rachael Orr, who delivered a clear, professional and intriguing pitch.

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"Bucket Of Sunshine encapsulates the goals of Write Start as it offers opportunities to collaborate across the disciplines at RCS. It's also topical and the visuals are terrific with light and sound playing a major factor.

"I can see this play being an immersive and intense audience experience and it has great potential to be both a stage play and a film in the future."

Mr Black said: “Winning is a shock but we’re all really excited to get working on it and we can’t thank Sam Heughan and the Write Start team enough for giving us the opportunity.

“Because Bucket of Sunshine is a theatrical piece and I’m a filmmaker, I brought in Sophia Ralston, who’s also on the filmmaking course but she’s done a lot of directing in the past.

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“I also brought in my good friend Rachael Orr, who I’ve known for quite some time, who is a brilliant set and costume designer.”

£1000 went to runner up, Meghan de Chastelain, who is studying on the MFA (Directing) Classical and Contemporary Text programme.

This will progress her work A Cocktailer’s Guide To Surviving A Pandemic, a one-woman show “using cocktails to make hard stories easier to swallow”.

Last year Heughan announced a commitment to a new 10-year drama scholarship at RCS, and Write Start launched in October.

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Heughan is personally funding three annual scholarships for undergraduate students in the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of RCS - which is located in Glasgow, thanked Heughan for “his vision and his generosity” in establishing the prize

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