Aberdeen ,

City’s GRANITE project wins People award

GRANITE, a large scale arts project created by the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council, and sponsored by Deloitte, has won a major award from Arts & Business Scotland at the Arts & Business Scotland 30th Annual Awards.

The People award which recognises a partnership that has used the power of culture to engage with and educate people in Scotland’s communities, was presented at the new auditorium at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to National Theatre of Scotland and GRANITE producer Karen Allan and Deloitte Partner, Derek Henderson.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s Development team were also honoured at the occasion with Elly Rothnie and Stella Litchfield winning the inaugural Fundraising Excellence Award, awarded in recognition of an individual or team that has made a significant contribution to the fundraising efforts of an arts or heritage organisation in Scotland.

The GRANITE project ran from September 2015 through to April 2016 and engaged with thousands of people across Aberdeen. The finale for the project was an epic outdoor theatre event telling story of the city, devised and written with the people of Aberdeen and was performed in the quadrangle of Aberdeen’s iconic Marischal College.

Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam said: “Working in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland on the hugely successful Granite project provided a fabulous opportunity to tell Aberdeen’s unique story from a range of perspectives. The NTS utilised their special skills to work with a significant number of individuals and groups in the city, creative and not so creative, so that their stories were turned in to unique theatre experiences.

“The Granite project showcased and celebrated the talent already in the city and encouraged others to get involved and highlighted Aberdeen’s place on the cultural map. This prestigious award will help inspire even greater artistic ambition in the city.”

Simon Sharkey Associate Director for National Theatre of Scotland said: “The National Theatre of Scotland is very proud that the biggest community project the Company has undertaken and our special partnership with Deloitte has been honoured in this way. None of this would have been made possible without the integrity and commitment of our co-producers Aberdeen City Council, our many local partners and the citizens of Aberdeen who responded to the project with such creativity and enthusiasm.

“Arts & Business Scotland was also key to the project’s initial success through their support of Deloitte’s sponsorship. Granite is a fantastic example of a hugely successful collaborative project which brought together many partners to transform a city and its people through culture.”

GRANITE was produced in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, Sound Festival, SHMU and University of Aberdeen Music and was supported by Aberdeen Inspired, Balmoral Group, Mackie’s of Scotland and Creative Scotland. The Deloitte sponsorship was awarded a New Arts Sponsorship Grant from Arts & Business Scotland.

The stunning finale for GRANITE ran across three performances with audience members seated around a 20 metre long stage, experiencing a production that featured a live band and choir, aerial performance, dance, video projection and featured a large community cast performers from local arts groups, including Aberdeen Performing Arts, ACT Aberdeen, Citymoves Dance Agency, the University of Aberdeen and the Slovo School of Aberdeen, alongside a professional actors including Torry-born Joyce Falconer and Aberdeen panto favourite Alan McHugh.

The eight month project enabled the people of Aberdeen to explore the city’s past, present and future in creative and impactful ways. Across the city, in workplaces, shopping malls, libraries, on the streets, and online, Aberdonians were asked what the city meant to them and how they envisioned it developing for future generations. Some of these responses and ideas were presented in a series of performances and installations that took place across Aberdeen city centre in November and December 2015 including an immersive radiophonic sound walk experienced through headphones, a weekend of street theatre performances, pop-up performances from a specially-assembled dance group and in the weekend before Christmas, 60 windows across the bustling city centre were brought to life with video portraits of everyday Aberdonians. Online, at graniteaberdeen.com, people submitted written and voice responses to a series of questions about their connection to the city. Running parallel to these activities, a collective of writers from Aberdeen’s flourishing writing scene, working under the guidance of acclaimed playwright and writer Peter Arnott, created, collected and adapted stories and scenes which provided the inspiration for the theatrical finale.

Granite was directed by National Theatre of Scotland Associate Director Simon Sharkey, working alongside dramaturg Peter Arnott; set and costume designer Becky Minto, lighting designer Colin Grenfell Sound Designer Philip Pinsky, video artist Graeme Roger, movement director Brigid McCarthy and associate director Phil McCormack.