Inspirational Modo claim Shire award

Peterhead performance group Theatre Modo took centre stage once more last week as they were honoured with a prestigious Aberdeenshire-wide award.

The gong caps off six-months which have also seen the group scoop a £50,000 Big Lottery Fund grant and help organise the upcoming Queen’s Baton Relay 

Cllr Norman Smith and Aberdeenshire Council's Chief Executive Colin Mackenzie with Theatre Modo's Martin Danziger, Ellie Moore, Jenny Emslie and Gary Hacket.

Cllr Norman Smith and Aberdeenshire Council's Chief Executive Colin Mackenzie with Theatre Modo's Martin Danziger, Ellie Moore, Jenny Emslie and Gary Hacket.

Aberdeenshire Council presented artistic director Martin Danziger and his team with the award at the black-tie Inspiring Aberdeenshire ceremony on Friday, June 14.

The ‘Aberdeenshire is a Creative Place’ prize recognises the creators of a piece of art which celebrates 
the region.

Modo’s ‘Mr Arbuthnot’s Cabinet of Curiosities,’ a modern-day presentation of the Arbuthnot Museum’s collection, beat off competition from across the North East.

Mr Danziger said: “This award is a wonderful testament to the work of our young people and Modo’s engagement across the area.

“It’s always great when the achievements of young people are recognised like this.”

The Modo team specialise in group projects in theatre and circus performing which provide young people ‘relevant, enjoyable and exciting access to the arts.’

Last year’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ project saw the team bring together a host of weird and wonderful artifacts from the Arbuthnot collection, from shrunken heads to Napoleonic cannonballs.

Mr Danziger continued: “Adam Arbuthnot has a magnificent Victorian magpie quality about him - it didn’t matter whether an object was historical or just shiny, he loved to collect them.

“This project was a way of taking the museum out to people who might not otherwise visit.

“We always like to celebrate the local culture and to have such an extraordinary man from our town was an opportunity not to be missed.”

The young team researched each object and created a mobile, performance-led exhibition in a converted ice cream van.

The cabinet toured Aberdeenshire showcasing both the colllection and the talents of the troupe of young people who curated it to hundreds of locals.

Martin Danziger, Creative Director of Theatre Modo

Martin Danziger, Creative Director of Theatre Modo

Modo were commissioned by Aberdeenshire Museums Service and funded by Museums Galleries Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Arbuthnot Museum’s Flick Ibbotson nominated Modo and said: “These young people brought the history of Peterhead’s community spirit to life with careful research, imaginative interpretation and creative flair.”

Following their nomination, Modo’s project went to a judging panel made up of elected local authority members and senior Education, Learning and Leisure officers for consideration.

Councillor Isobel Davidson, Chair of Education, Learning and Leisure, said: “The judging for Inspiring Aberdeenshire is rigorous.

“Councillors and officers review every application and give careful consideration to everyone who has been nominated.

“The stories we hear make us laugh and make us cry and it is an almost impossible task to decide who should win on the night.”

Vice chair cllr Ron McKail added: “We know that every day across Aberdeenshire, children, young people and the employees who support them, work tirelessly to be the best they can be, sometimes against great odds and facing overwhelming challenges.

“They are the people who make Aberdeenshire the wonderful place it is to live.”

Friday’s civic reception at Haddo House saw 11 other prizes handed out in categories as diverse as the ‘Extra Mile Award for a Staff Member’ and ‘Outstanding Leader of the Year.’

Organisers of Fraserburgh’s Moonlight Prowl Jacqueline Watt and Anne-May Adams picked up the Best of Banff and Buchan award for their contribution to funding research and raising awareness of breast cancer.

Every year more than 1,000 women walk through the streets of Fraserburgh at night, raising more than £650,000 to date for research programmes at the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Banff and Buchan’s area manager Margaret-Jane Cardno said of the pair: “They have both dedicated so many volunteer hours ensuring this event continues to grow and develop and as a result many projects have been delivered.”

A host of school acts from across the region performed for the award-winners on the night, including children from Westhill Academy Ceilidh Band, the New Deer Primary School Choir and a dance performance from the Hip Hop School Scotland.