Edinburgh News Drama Awards: EUSOG and Makars win

Edinburgh Makars. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh Makars. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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IT was smiles all round as Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group (EUSOG) and the Edinburgh Makars learned they were the winners of the 2013 Edinburgh News Drama Awards.

The annual awards, nicknamed the ENDAs are a highlight of the Capital’s amateur theatre calendar.

EUSOG. Pic: Toby Williams

EUSOG. Pic: Toby Williams

The 2013 award for Best Production when to EUSOG’s staging of the ever popular musical, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, based on Charles M Schulz’s comic strip characters, including Snoopy the dog.

Accepting the award on behalf of EUSOG were Ethan Baird, who played Linus in the production; Kirsty Findlay, who played Lucy Brown; director Stella Merz, musical director Lucie Robathan and producer Cailean Morison.

On hearing of the win, Becca Simmonds, who played Lucy van Pelt in the show, beamed “We have had such a fantastic time playing eight-year-olds; this award is the icing on the cake”.

EUSOG was formed in 1961 with the intention of promoting and performing the operettas of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Today the company has widened its focus, staging light operas and musicals alike, including the works of Larson, Gershwin and Sondheim, as well as Gilbert and Sullivan’s classics.

Since 1993 EUSOG has produced three shows a year; a musical in November, a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera in March and at least one show at the Fringe.

The Makars, who performed Come Blow Your Horn at Murrayfield Parish Church Centre during the Fringe, won the coveted Capital Spirit Award, which is presented to the company that best captures the excitement and invigorating nature of the city’s amateur scene.

Accepting on behalf of the company were club president Martin Burnell, director Margaret Milne and cast members Carole Birse, Jan Renton and Josh Summariva.

“We are very pleased that after having produced plays in Edinburgh for many years, our contribution has been recognised by the Evening News,” smiled a delighted Burnell.

The Edinburgh Makars, were originally founded in 1932 by actress, broadcaster and playwright Christine Orr. The name The Makars was used from 1933. The present club was formed in May 1996 when The Makars joined with Davidson’s Mains Dramatic Club, adopting the name The Edinburgh Makars in 2002.

The club produces two or three full-scale productions a year, one of which is for the Fringe.

Other contenders in the running for this year’s Edinburgh News Drama Awards included productions by the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, Forth Children’s Theatre, Arkle Theatre Company, Edinburgh People’s Theatre, Leitheatre, Saughtonhall Drama Club and Edinburgh Theatre Arts.

The Edinburgh News Drama Awards were initiated in 2007 to recognise the contribution local amateur companies make to the city’s annual arts festival at a time when the event has become so large it is easy for local groups to be overlooked.

The Capital Spirit Award was introduced in 2011 as a way of acknowledging the input of a specific company to Edinburgh’s amateur scene in general.

Evening News entertainment editor Liam Rudden said, “After discussing this year’s entries with our team of reviewers, EUSOG’s You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown was a clear winner, while the enthusiasm, hard work and year-long endeavours of The Makars have established them one of the Capital’s most respected amateur companies.”

ENDA ROLL OF HONOUR

2013 Best Production: EUSOG - You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown

Capital Spirit Award: The Makars - Come Blow Your Horn

2012 Best Production: FCT - Once On This Island

Capital Spirit Award: EGTG - Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us

2011 Best Production: Arkle Theatre Company - The 39 Steps.

Capital Spirit Award: EPT - The Chippit Chantie.

2010 Best Musical: FCT - Guys And Dolls

Best Play: Saughtonhall Drama Group - Pack Of Lies

2009 Best Play: ETA - A Tale Of Two Cities

Best Musical: FCT - Ragtime.

2008 Best Musical Award: FCT - Jekyll and Hyde

Runner-up: EUSOG - Company/MMS Pinafore

Best Production: ETA - Blue Remembered Hills

Runner-up: Leitheatre - A Wee Touch o’ Class

2007 Best Production: Spend, Spend, Spend - Tempo

Runner-up: EPT - The Holy Terror