Graduate raises a glass to £10,000 funding boost: spirited cocktail-inspired play to hit the stage thanks to Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship
Take the world’s top cocktails. Blend with dash of drama. Add a generous splash of funding. And you’ve got all the ingredients for an intoxicating new play.
A Cocktailer’s Guide to Surviving a Pandemic was concocted by Meghan de Chastelain during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. And it will be brought to life thanks to an annual £10,000 funding award from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Meghan, who graduated from the MFA (Directing) Classical and Contemporary Text programme in 2023, is this year’s recipient of the Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship. It’s a unique chance for new graduates of the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film (DDPF) to receive funding and support from RCS for a creative project, performance, phase of research and development or to launch a creative company.
The funding boost will allow Meghan to develop A Cocktailer’s Guide to Surviving a Pandemic, which uses cocktails to ‘make hard stories easier to swallow’.
“During the 2020 lockdown, I printed out a list of the world’s top 100 cocktails and my flatmate and I made a cocktail together each night, working our way through the entire list,” explained Meghan.
“It was in the first hundred days that I was inspired to write a story using cocktails as the basis for storytelling; characters are represented by different liquors and stories told through the cocktail’s ingredients. The piece demonstrates that even when the world around us falls apart, we can still reclaim our health, independence, power, vulnerability, and courage.”
Meghan, who is Canadian-British, said she’s excited and privileged to receive the Fellowship to help support the creation of the show: “I worked as an actor back in Canada and did my MFA in Directing at RCS, so I am grateful for the opportunity to further diversify my artistic practice by writing this play.
“The show has been marinating for several years, and I was looking for funding that would not only support the creation of my piece, but particularly a fellowship that would allow me to pay the artists involved fairly.
“RCS played a huge role in my artistic development, and it felt fitting to ask for their support as I began to create my own work in the Scottish industry. The equally prioritises the creation of the play, development on the script and its premiere in Glasgow, before transferring to a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”
Meghan believes initiatives like the Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship are ‘imperative’ in helping emerging artists make their dreams take flight.
“The Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship truly prioritises an artist’s development, and it is a rare gift to have a grant that provides an artist with the flexibility to take creative risks. Funding for early-stage creators is imperative so that they can build careers that are creatively and financially fulfilling. This funding demonstrates a deep commitment to the artist as a whole, and I am very grateful to the funders for seeing value in this piece.”
Meghan was the runner-up in the inaugural Write Start Creative Commission, established in 2021 by actor and RCS graduate Sam Heughan. Designed as an annual award, it encourages students to join forces to create original and compelling new work. Meghan received £1,000 to progress her play, as well as ‘invaluable’ feedback from Sam and the Write Start panel.
The Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship is a follow-on initiative from the long and successful partnership between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and the Bruce Millar Trust, which awarded funds to graduates of the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film (DDPF) from 1988 to 2018. The Bruce Millar Drama Award originally supported a promising graduate of the school before evolving into a fellowship scheme for a graduate (or graduate collective) to kick-start their careers and help them transition into professional life.
At the time of his death, Bruce Millar was a director for the BBC in London, where he worked in drama and light entertainment. In 1988, a memorial trust was established by his father, who was a long-standing Governor of RSAMD (now RCS).
If you have any queries about the Bruce Millar Graduate Fellowship, contact firstname.lastname@example.org