Scottish theatre world pays tribute to Pauline Knowles in Knives in Hens at Lyceum
Leading lights of Scottish theatre including Maureen Beattie, Kate Dickie and Elaine C Smith have taken to the stage in Edinburgh in a tribute to acclaimed actor and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumna Pauline Knowles, raising funds for a scholarship in her name.
Knives in Hens was performed at the Royal Lyceum in memory of the much-loved performer, who famously created the lead role of the Young Woman in David Harrower’s play, and who passed away last year.
Directed by Philip Howard, the unique concert reading of one of the most successful Scottish plays of the 20th century featured a company of 25 actors, including current RCS students as well as staff and graduates. Second year BA Acting students Shyvonne Ahmmad and Natalie Mitson performed alongside graduates Maureen Beattie, Fiona Bell, Neshla Caplan, Kate Dickie, Lesley Hart, Lewis Howden, Muireann Kelly, Sarah MacGillivray, Helen Mackay and Elaine C Smith.
RCS staff member Margaret Bennett, mother of musician Martyn Bennett who wrote the original score for the production, was also part of the cast alongside RCS Emeritus Professor and graduate, Ros Steen. Lighting designer Grant Anderson was also involved in the production at the Edinburgh theatre.
All funds raised from the evening are going towards a scholarship for Scottish or Scottish-based BA Acting students at Scotland’s national conservatoire. Also supporting the scholarship is an auction of the original artwork for the programme cover of the concert reading, designed and signed by artist David Shrigley. The auction is live online now.
Professor Hugh Hodgart, Director of Drama, Dance, Production and Film at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, addressed the audience prior to the performance in Edinburgh. Speaking afterwards, he said: “It is fitting that Pauline was remembered with a special performance of Knives in Hens at the Lyceum and we are grateful that all donations from the event are going to the Pauline Knowles Scholarship Fund at Scotland’s national conservatoire, supporting our Acting students as they take their first steps towards careers in the performing arts.
“A performer at the peak of her powers, her untimely passing came far too soon for someone who still had so much to give. With the introduction of this generous new scholarship in her memory at Scotland’s national conservatoire, Pauline’s legacy will live on by supporting the next generation of emerging Scottish actors at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.”
By the time of her death last year, Pauline Knowles had established herself as one of the pre-eminent Scottish stage actors of her generation, in a career spanning 30 years, and in every Scottish theatre.
Hugely respected by other actors for her integrity, graft and craft, she specialised in thrilling vocal performances and characterisations of ambiguity and inscrutability, with a dazzling range from tragic majesty ”” Clytemnestra in Oresteia: This Restless House by Zinnie Harris (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) ”” to comic genius ”” Pass the Spoon by David Shrigley (Magnetic North).
The production featured live music from Mr McFall’s Chamber.
Donations to the Pauline Knowles Scholarship Fund can be made at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland website.