It was a night of celebration at Scotland’s first ‘Cultural Oscars’ with stars, music, laughter, tears - and some terrifying throwing, and swallowing, of knives and swords.
The cream of Scottish culture gathered on Thursday night in Glasgow for the Sunday Herald’s inaugural Culture Awards.
Outlander actor Sam Heughan and Games of Thrones star Kate Dickie were among the starts making an appearance on the red carpet.
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Winners included James McAvoy who was named as Best Screen Actor, and Alan Cumming, who picked up the Best Theatre Actor award. Both were unable to attend the event in person as they were working overseas, but sent video messages of thanks for the recognition.
McAvoy – who appeared to be sporting a black eye, which was thankfully just make-up for a film role – said: “Culture is as important as ever – arguably even more so in this current climate where we look to redefine ourselves, so to be the recipient of something like this at this particular time means a hell of a lot.”
Cumming sent a video from New York in which he said: “I am so grateful to the Sunday Herald and all the judges for this huge honour. To receive this award in its inaugural year really means a lot to me.”
Jenni Fagan won Author of the Year, while band Federation of the Disco Pimp won the Best Live Performance category.
The Judges’ Choice Award was so difficult to whittle down that two very different winners were named – synth-pop band Chvrches and the public art work Hinterland, NVA at St Peter’s Seminary.
Piano player David Patrick won Best Musical Artist and graphic novelists John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs won Best Visual Artist. Prima ballerina Sophie Martin won Best Dance Performer and dancer/choreographer Jack Webb was named as the One to Watch.
Best Musical Group went to Scottish Opera, while Celtic Connections was named as the Cultural Event of the Year. The Glad Café, in the southside of Glasgow, picked up the award for Best Performing Arts Venue.
Broadcaster Janice Forsyth, who was the host for the evening, told the hundreds of guests gathered at SWG3 in Glasgow: “One thing we can be absolutely sure of is that Scotland really is a nation of cultural high-flyers…producing truly world-class work.”
Guest speaker Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop highlighted the “dynamic and flourishing” nature of Scotland’s cultural sector and the contribution it makes to the economy.
The knife-throwing wasn’t some kind of fall-out from the hotly contested competition, however, but a jaw-dropping display courtesy of husband and wife team The Death Do Us Part Danger Show, who also performed a sword-swallowing routine which had the audience gasping in horror. Band Saltire Beat, singer Andrew Bargh and an art display by Art Pistol also entertained the guests.
The event was supported by Edinburgh Napier University, Caledonian MacBrayne and Cameron Presentations.
Pauline Miller Judd, dean of the school of arts and creative industries at Edinburgh Napier University and one of the award judges, said: “It was a wonderful awards ceremony which celebrated the quality and diversity of Scottish culture. The opportunity to meet the winners and those shortlisted really highlighted how exceptional the talent is across Scotland. We look forward to next year’s award and being part of the celebrations.”
Peter Griffiths, marketing manager of Caledonian MacBrayne, said: "The awards ceremony was a tremendous celebration of the best of Scotland's diverse culture and we enjoyed the evening from start to finish. We would like to say congratulations to all those who made the finals, as well as the winners and, of course, especially to Federation of the Disco Pimp, which won in the CalMac sponsored category."
Adam Cameron, business manager at Cameron Presentations, said: "Huge congratulations to this year's winners and to all the finalists on the night. The awards have shown the huge breadth of Scottish talent and we were delighted to be part of it.”
The judging panel included author and playwright Alan Bissett, singer songwriter Roddy Woomble, journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart, leading graphic designer and creative director at Graven, Janice Kirkpatrick OBE and Pauline Miller Judd.
Sunday Herald editor Neil Mackay, chairman of the judges, said: “The Sunday Herald has thrown a lot of good parties over the years but this was the best one yet - after all you don't often get an X-Man, a villainess from Game of Thrones, a sex god from Outlander, Alan Cumming, knife-throwers and rappers in the same room.
"It was a fantastic evening and thanks to everyone for making these first awards such a great success. Whether winners or not, everyone should be proud of the magnificent role they play in developing and promoting Scotland’s world-class cultural scene - something which the Sunday Herald has championed since our launch way back in 1999."
*For more information on the awards: http://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/sunday-herald-culture-awards/