“Slainte! I’m Catriona and I am originally from Ayrshire in the South West of Scotland.
My work with young people especially has provided some of the most rewarding experiences; when they finally get a dance move they have been practicing, when you see something click in their heads, when they have the confidence to get up and do something that they wouldn’t have done six months ago – that’s when I can tell I’m doing something right!
My interest in dance, theatre, and the performing arts began from a young age when I was attending youth theatre and dance classes, and watching live performances. What started in my younger years as a hobby developed into a passion as I made my way through secondary school, and by the time I had studied Performing Arts at college, I knew that it was something I wanted to make a career out of (despite the stigma surrounding the industry!).
I trained for two years at Ayrshire College where I learned new theatre and theatre-making techniques such as devising and movement, and also had the opportunity to perform in plays including Trojan Barbie and Buckets.
I then progressed on to study BA (Hons) Performance at the University of the West of Scotland for another two years; a period of time that managed to squeeze in the furthering of my knowledge of theatre technique, writing for stage and screen, delivering drama workshops in the local community, being involved – in various capacities – in a number of student-led projects and productions, performing in the musical productions The Producers and Little Shop of Horrors, and writing numerous essays which culminated in the infamous (and dreaded) 10,000 word dissertation.
I also choreographed and performed in our end-of-year production of The Addams Family; this was my first time choreographing a full-scale production and, although there are many things I would change about it looking back, it is one of my greatest achievements so far!
While I was at college, I established myself as a freelancer and worked with Fib Youth Theatre, where I worked in the office as well as teaching dance and choreography to the musical theatre classes. And after graduating university in 2019 I took up the position of assistant director and choreographer at East Ayrshire Youth Theatre. I have worked alongside the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr as a member of the Youth Arts Board and the Gaiety Young Company; I am continuing to work with them remotely as part of their Ensemble and as an assistant for the Youth Theatre.
I consider myself very fortunate that the majority of my work has been in the industry I studied and trained to be a part of. The nature of it has allowed me to establish and maintain so many valuable connections with talented local artists, from script writers and directors to performers and theatre-makers.
I am looking forward to being part of the team at An Lanntair and have already been made to feel so welcome. I know it will be a fantastic experience to work within a creative and collaborative environment and bring the arts to the communities. I am excited to be bringing dance and movement to young families throughout the island and providing a platform for them to explore the arts and be creative – goodness knows we need it now more than ever!
Having lived in my family home while studying and working (something I will always be grateful for) I am now looking forward to this next chapter of my life living and working on the island. The initial plan was to get a flat in Glasgow and find work there but 2020 seems to be a year of disrupted plans and so the Hebrides it is, and I am so happy it has worked out this way! I can’t wait to meet the young people and families I will be working with, as well as the rest of the team at An Lanntair!”
Catriona joins An Lanntair’s Full Circle Arts Worker team and will be taking our popular Movement and Dance sessions for youngsters both online, and in person at Sandwickhill Studios, Lionel, and Kinloch. Click here to find out more about Catriona’s classes, and what other creative opportunities An Lanntair offers for youngsters, families, and teenagers to enjoy.