Book celebrating Gaelic theatre awarded prestigious prize

A book by an Aberdeen academic highlighting the important but often overlooked role of Gaelic theatre has been awarded a prestigious literary prize.

Professor Michelle Macleod’s work, ‘A Century of Gaelic Drama’, won the Donald Meek Prize for Nonfiction at the Gaelic Literature Awards.

Scottish Gaelic literature throughout its history has been dominated by verse to an unusual extent and the role of other forms of writing, particularly that for the theatre, have often been overlooked.

Professor Macleod’s book sets out the importance of drama in Gaelic, which began to thrive in the twentieth century, and the important role it can play in breaking down barriers to touch people across linguistic and cultural divides.

‘A Century of Gaelic Drama’ brings together eight Gaelic plays from the start of the twentieth century to the present day.

Professor Macleod said: “The aim of the book was not only to highlight the important history of Gaelic theatre but to make it more accessible to non-Gaelic speakers as well. That’s why English translations have been included for each of the plays featured.

“Playwrights in Gaelic theatre make a really important contribution to the genre and their skill and commitment to their art deserves much wider recognition.

“I hope that ‘A Century of Gaelic Drama’ can further knowledge and understanding of Gaelic theatre for speakers and non-speakers alike and I am delighted that it has been recognised with the Donald Meek Prize.”

Professor Chris Collins, Head of School the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen added: “Theatre brings people together to celebrate creativity and encourages us to contemplate a world beyond our own. 

“As a non-Gaelic speaker, it is wonderful to be able to access these wonderful plays and to understand a little more about Gaelic life and culture.

“As a University we are committed to supporting the promotion of Gaelic and we are pleased to see the important contribution of Professor Macleod’s work celebrated through this award.”