Iolaire play scoops top Gaelic award

Cllr Alasdair  MacLeod CNES, Joanna Mackenzie, Marissa Macdonald  Marissa Macdonald and Sgoil an Rubha
Cllr Alasdair MacLeod CNES, Joanna Mackenzie, Marissa Macdonald Marissa Macdonald and Sgoil an Rubha

Marissa Macdonald and Sgoil an Rubha won the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) sponsored ‘Community, Heritage and Tourism’ award at the annual Scottish Gaelic Awards.

The ceremony, held in Glasgow, honours the best in learning, achievement and development across all sectors of society and celebrates the great work being done by and for Gaelic.

Pupils from Point primary school, Sgoil an Rubha, in the Isle of Lewis performed a play, An Oidhche mus do sheòl i, written by Alasdair Macleod and produced and directed by Marisa Macdonald with input from the Point community. The drama is based on the Iolaire disaster when more than 200 sailors returning home at the end of World War 1 died when the vessel struck rocks off the entrance to Stornoway Harbour, 100 years ago.

School pupils researched the links between the 50 Iolaire victims from Point and, where possible, played the part of their own relatives in the play. Gaelic was used extensively throughout the performances, reflecting the reality of life at that time.

Following two sell-out performances, ae third show was held an An Lanntair when tickets sold-out in 20 minutes.

Mairi Buchanan, senior development manager at HIE’s Outer Hebrides area team, said: “We congratulate Sgoil and Rubha on their fantastic achievement of winning the award for their spectacular production.

“It brought community and heritage together creating both performances and bringing the stories and a key piece of social history for generations to come.

“We are delighted to support and promote projects that recognise communities, organisations, groups and schools that have done the most to celebrate its Gaelic culture and tourism.

“We would also like to congratulate Galson Estate Trust for winning the event award and Acair, which won the best contribution aAward, Graficanna for the Gaelic as an Economic Asset award as well all aother finalists and winners.”