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Obituary: Amanda Gaughan – ‘talented Scottish director’

Amanda Gaughan. Photo: Aly Wright Amanda Gaughan. Photo: Aly Wright

Amanda Gaughan, who died suddenly at the age of 35, was a talented director who earned many friends in Scotland’s theatre community through her work on the country’s main stages, as well as her involvement with the Scottish Playwrights’ Studio and youth theatre in her home town of Paisley.

Gaughan’s love of the theatre began in primary school when it was visited by the town’s PACE Youth Theatre in 1993. She was just 10 at the time, and after joining the company she dropped all her other out-of-school activities, remaining a member for eight years.

In 2000, she went to study at the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama on the contemporary theatre practice course, graduating in 2004 with first-class honours. She returned to Paisley to work full-time with PACE as part of the artistic team. In 2008, she was back at the RSAMD to pursue a master’s in classic and contemporary text, specialising in directing.

In 2010, she was made the Esmee Fairbairn trainee director at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre, taking on Dennis Kelly’s After the End as her debut production, as well as working on Roman Bridge by Martin Travers. She recently worked with Travers on Annville, his new play in Scots and English.

Remembering her as “creatively fearless”, Travers says: “She was a rare and precious talent. A Scottish female director that could deliver big plays on to main stages but was also brilliant when developing new writing – she could cut a new play like a jeweller cuts stones.”

In 2011, Gaughan won the new directors award from the National Theatre of Scotland, assisting John Tiffany on the stage adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s book, The Missing. She returned to work with the NTS in 2014 as associate director on Rona Munro’s epic history trilogy, The James Plays.

She was an associate artist at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum from 2014 to 2016, delivering two cleverly worked productions of Hedda Gabler and Conor McPherson’s The Weir.

She was a passionate supporter of new writing and great friend to the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, helping individual writers and working on projects such as Born to Write.

Amanda Gaughan was born on August 27, 1982, and died on March 12.

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