Falkirk saddened by death of drama world’s leading light

Lillias Scougall
Lillias Scougall
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Lillias Scougall, an ‘inspiration to hundreds of youngsters’, has passed away.

Lillias, who founded The Young Portonian Theatre Company over 30 years ago, was a relentless promoter of the arts and has been involved in the Falkirk drama scene nearly all her life.

Inspired by Betty Clark, her teacher at Falkirk High School, Lillias has been performing since those schooldays.

Later joining Falkirk Theatre Arts, it was through those drama circles that she met her husband Drew at an after-show party.

The couple married and moved to Grangemouth, where they brought up children Craig and Clare.

And it was once her children went to school that Lillias became passionate about combining education and drama.

After starting classes in two Grangemouth schools, Lillias founded The Young Portonian Theatre Company to allow all youngsters to be involved, also taking on the roles of script writer, producer and director within the group.

Young Portonians secretary Irene McVie, said Lillias inspired generations of children with her passion for drama.

She added: “Everyone at The Young Portonians is absolutely shattered by this sad news. Lillias gave up her role as director last year because of her ill health but she was still very much involved and would come to rehearsals whenever she felt able.

“Drama was in her blood and she inspired many young people with her enthusiasm. Her death is sad for The Young Portonians and for drama in Falkirk in general.”

Lillias was an active member in the Scottish Community Drama Association and a big supporter of its One Act Play Festival. It was her encouragement that persuaded youngsters in the drama group to enter plays into the festival - which is open to all ages - with the Young Portonians often doing well and reaching the finals of the prestigious competition on occasions.

She became chairwoman of the Eastern Division of the association, and was involved in securing funding for local amateur drama groups and well as promoting the arts throughout the region.

In 2009 she was honoured to be selected as one of the top 100 most influential people in Falkirk by The Falkirk Herald and she was an acclaimed writer, with theatre companies paying to use her scripts.

Jamie O’Rourke was a member of the Young Portonians from 2001 to 2008 and said Lillias had a profound effect on his life.

He said: “When I joined The Young Portonians, I was shy and timid and it was through drama that I found my confidence. Lillias influenced me, as she has countless others..”

Lillias passed away at Strathcarron Hospice last Friday aged 68. A service will take place tomorrow (Friday) at Polmont Old Parish Church at 11 a.m. to be followed by a funeral at Camelon Cemetery.