Sam Heughan: Nuclear Submarine Play Wins First Outlander Student Playwriting Competition

Start Writing: The Sam Heughan Creative Commission was designed as an annual award to inspire collaboration across music, drama, dance, production, film and education at the Royal Conservatory of Scotland (RCS), which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.

John Black, a second-year undergraduate film student, won the competition with Bucket of Sunshine, a play about three naval officers on an Vanguard-class submarine that questions the moral and ethical dilemmas of nuclear weapons.

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Mr Black, the play’s writer and producer, will receive a £5,000 stipend and mentorship from Heughan and industry experts to develop the play, which is due to be staged this summer.

A play about three officers on a nuclear submarine won the first Start Writing: Sam Heughan Creative Commission award, created by Outlander star Sam Heughan for students at his former drama school.

He collaborates with second-year film student Sophia Ralston, who will direct the play, and stage designer Rachel Orr, a third-year art and design student.

Heughan said he was impressed with the level of applications from across the institution.

He said: “Magic can happen when artists come together to share ideas – it creates inspiration and an outpouring of creativity. That’s the whole point of Write Start – to see the potential in new ways of working, to take risks and offer everyone their own unique talents.

“A collaborative spirit permeates the Royal Conservatory of Scotland, a place where people from different walks of life, united by a common passion, come together under one roof.

“Congratulations to all the participants who impressed with their imagination and originality. A special mention goes to our first Write Start winner, John Black, along with Sophia Ralston and Rachel Orr, who delivered a clear, professional and intriguing presentation.

“Bucket Of Sunshine embodies the goals of Write Start as it offers opportunities for collaboration across the various RCS disciplines. It’s also relevant and the visuals are amazing, with light and sound playing an important role.

“I see this play as an exciting and intense viewing experience, and it has great potential to become both a theater production and a film in the future.”

The play begins after Britain has been destroyed by a nuclear attack and follows the crew of a Vanguard-class submarine carrying the British nuclear deterrent, deciding whether they should strike back or retreat.

Runner-up Meghan de Chastelain, who is studying an MFA (directing) program in classical and contemporary text, will receive £1,000 to promote her work The Pandemic Survival Guide, a one-woman show “using cocktails to create heavy stories”. easier to swallow.”

The launch of Write Start in October 2021 comes after the announcement last July of Heughan’s intent to receive a new 10-year drama scholarship at RCS.

Heughan, who graduated in acting in 2003, personally funds three annual scholarships for undergraduate students at the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film. Professor Geoffrey Sharkey, director of Glasgow-based RCS, thanked Heughan for “his vision and generosity” in establishing the award.

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