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John Byrne launches Billy Award

The playwright and artist John Byrne is to launch a new award in memory of the late actor Billy McColl, who died aged 62 earlier this year.

Byrne, who wrote The Slab Boys in which McColl played Phil McCann, will present the award at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (Cats), held at the Citizens Theatre tomorrow.

The first Billy will go to a young theatre actor.

Byrne said of meeting McColl: "I took the swagger with which he strolled into the backstage dressing room for a part of his actor's auditioning gear.

"The flashing eyes I put down to a couple of drops of glycerine hastily applied prior to his arriving, but as soon as he opened his mouth and spoke the first of Phil McCann's lines from the script I knew that we had hit gold dust."

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