Media Release: Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme appeals for Argyll & Bute votes to win coveted nationwide award


Public voting opens: 9am, Wednesday 24 June

Deadline: Midnight, Wednesday 29 July

To vote: or Telephone: 0844 836 9707


THE organisers behind the 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme are appealing for local votes as they strive for nationwide acclaim on BBC One in this year’s National Lottery Awards.

The Cultural Programme – which celebrated Scotland’s hosting of the XX Commonwealth Games and was the most ambitious and wide-reaching programme of national cultural activity that has ever taken place in the country, with audiences of over two million in theatre, music, exhibition, dance, poetry and film, and over 600,000 participants – beat off stiff competition from 620 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

15 projects took place in Argyll & Bute as part of the Cultural Programme, including GRIT: The Martyn Bennett Story delivered by Pachamama Productions and Sports Stories From Around the African Commonwealth delivered by Africa in Motion.

GRIT is a Scots-Canadian site specific production based on the inspiring life and music of one of Scotland’s most innovative, pioneering and influential musicians; the tragically late Martyn Bennett.

Directed by multi-award winning director, Cora Bissett, GRIT reflects on Martyn’s own Scots-Canadian heritage, and was an International collaboration with Canada’s renowned choreographer Dana Gringas (of ‘Animals of Distinction’), and some of Canada’s finest circus artists who worked alongside an ensemble of Scotland’s dance and aerial artists, actors, live folk singers, and classical musicians, whilst of course featuring Martyn’s groundbreaking dance music in its original form.

GRIT was presented at Tramway, Glasgow and Mull Theatre.  This mini-music festival of artists inspired by Martyn Bennett’s work took place at An Tobar on Mull from 19-22 June, 2014.

Cora Bissett, artistic director, said: “It was a phenomenal opportunity to be part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural programme. Creating a show which celebrated the late great Martyn Bennett was a joy, and the chance to work with international partners from Montreal and Quebec was an honour indeed.

“We brought world class contemporary dancers, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers to Glasgow, and integrated them into a beautiful story of Martyn’s life.

“We sold out the Glasgow Tramway to rapturous audiences nearly every night, receiving standing ovations, and also introduced Martyn’s music to a whole new generation who eagerly snapped up the newly re-released album.

“We worked closely with Mull theatre as co-producers and took the show there, to Martyn’s resting place. It was a special time, with a large amount of people in the audience knowing Martyn personally.

“The warmth the show was met with was acknowledged when we won the ‘Event of the Year’ award at the Scottish Trad Awards, which recognised the way in which Gaelic, Folk and Scots music, language and poetry were integrated into the piece.

“It was an incredibly moving experience for everyone involved and we believe for all those who came to learn more about, or to relive the electricity and sheer passion which Martyn created.”

Sports Stories From Around the African Commonwealth, a serious of African sports films delivered by Africa in Motion. The films highlighted the diverse array of sport narratives from across Africa showing how each country and region has its own story linked to sport, depending on their history, culture, economy, climate, and ethnic diversity

Screenings were held at Dunoon Burgh Hall; Oban Phoenix Cinema and An Cridhe & Coll Bunkhouse, Isle of Coll.

Justine Atkinson, festival project Manager, said: “Sports Stories from around the African Commonwealth brought to life the challenges African sports face, sharing vivid depictions of African sport with Scottish audiences, and allowing a deeper understanding of, and engagement with the Commonwealth Games.

“The programme travelled to a wide variety of venues across Scotland allowing audiences to fully immerse themselves in African culture.

“The programme was very well received and we believe that it increased the diversity of content brought to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and contributed to a progressive inter-cultural dialogue through African films on sports.”

To vote for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme, please go to or telephone 0844 836 9707 and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards.

Voting runs for five weeks from 9am on Wednesday 24 June until midnight on Wednesday 29 July.

The programme is competing against six other organisations to be crowned the winner of the Arts category. Winners of the seven National Lottery Awards categories will get a £2,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded Awards ceremony, broadcast on BBC One in September.

Janice Kelly in capacity as portfolio manager for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme for Creative Scotland, said: “On behalf of all the projects which took place right across Scotland, I’m delighted that the 2014 Cultural Programme has reached the finals of The National Lottery Awards.

“Lottery money has really helped local communities throughout the country take part in a huge range of activity from grassroots workshops and learning opportunities, to large scale, spectacular and fun events, all inspired by the values and spirit of the Commonwealth Games.

“From the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, from east to west and in towns and villages in between, visitors and communities have come together for a unique experience.”

TV star and actor, John Barrowman, will be presenting the National Lottery Awards for the fifth time this year.

He said: “The exceptional work carried out by National Lottery Awards finalists never fails to astound me. Their work deserves to be celebrated nationally; the community spirit, social cohesion and compassion.

“It is crucial that you show your support for your local project so it can get the national glory that it richly deserves. National Lottery players should swell with pride that £34 million of Lottery funding is raised every single week for projects like this across the UK.”

The 2014 Cultural Programme consisted of two strands: the Scotland-wide programme of activity, Culture 2014 and the Games-time Glasgow-based Festival 2014.

This ambitious and accessible cultural celebration was developed through a unique collaboration between the performers and artists, communities across the country

Work was presented for the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme across all artforms, from the intimate to the spectacular, as well as ground-breaking nationwide projects such as GENERATION – the celebration of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, Big Big Sing and Get Scotland Dancing.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.


For further information please contact: THE NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS

Sarah Myers
T: 0141 242 1414 / 07828 617962


Sophie Bambrough
T: 0131 523 0015 / 07747606146

Notes to Editors

  • Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme received £9.1m of National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland. Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life and the National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) are coordinating the campaign.
  • The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and
  • Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme was Scotland’s biggest ever nationwide cultural celebration. Audiences of more than 2.1 million actively engaged with and enjoyed cultural activity throughout Scotland For further information about the Cultural Programme please visit;
  • If the Glasgow 2014 Cultural programme wins the Award in its category the £2,000 cash prize will be donated to UNICEF, the official charity partner of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
  • Telephone voting calls cost 5p max (a connection charge may be applied by some networks. Please check with your provider.)
  • All voting will be independently adjudicated and verified by Electoral Reform Services.

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