Liz Lochhead


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Playwrights' Studio

Former Associate Playwright

Liz Lochhead

Liz's plays are performed around the world, and she was Scottish National Poet from 2011 - 2016.

Liz's play Educating Agnes premiered in 2008 at Citizens Theatre Glasgow, produced by Theatre Babel. This was Liz's third classical adaptation for the company following her equally successful Thebans in 2003, a startlingly timely re-telling of the stories of Oedipus, Jokasta and Antigone.

In a break from the classics, Liz also had a hit with her romantic comedy GOOD THINGS at the Tron Theatre in 2004.


"A pan-generational smash hit in the making"


In 2000, Liz was awarded Scotland's most prestigious book prize, The Saltire Society's Book of the Year Award, for the publication of her play Medea, published by Nick Hern Books. Liz's re-interpretation of Medea opened at Glasgow's Tramway theatre in March 2000 in a Theatre Babel production, and was presented during the Edinburgh Festival:


"Lochhead's searing adaptation of Medea … should finally establish the Glasgow playwright as Scotland's greatest living dramatist"
- Scotland on Sunday


Miseryguts, Liz's contemporary Scottish take on Moliere's Le Misanthrope opened at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in March 2002 directed by Tony Cownie and starring Jimmy Chisholm:


"brilliantly raucously and scabrously funny"
- Jon Peter - Sunday Times


"The most obvious star of the show is Lochhead's writing…….the dynamics of dialogue are harmonised with often breath-taking, not to mention hilarious finesse"
- Sue Wilson - The Independent


"Lochhead's gift for and delight in language, especially the everyday language of central Scotland, is as dazzling as ever"
- Robert Dawson Scott - The Times


Her Christmas show, Beauty and the Beast, opened at the Tron Theatre Glasgow in December 2001.


Starring Siobhan Redmond, Perfect Days opened in the West End in June 1999. The play was the hit of the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in its premiere at the Traverse Theatre as the Traverse's major Festival production:


"Lochhead's writing is a vigorous mixture of sitcom humour and psychological probing, and with this play she has placed herself firmly at the front rank of Scottish writing"
- John Peter, Sunday Times


"lethally observant, drenched in the detail and speech-rhythms of the west of Scotland culture Lochhead loves, and pebble-dashed with a brilliant, transforming shower of unforgettable one-liners"
- Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman


The production then played at Hampstead Theatre, London in January 1999 followed by a sell-out UK tour. Perfect Days was nominated for Best New Play at the Olivier Awards.


Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off is still possibly Liz's best known play. It was initially produced by Communicado Theatre Company in 1987 and won a fringe first. The play was revived in May 1994 at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh.


"a rich, fascinating play made out of history and imagination"
- Jeffrey Wainwright, The Independent


"the richest theatre piece about Scotland to emerge in the last decade"
- Joyce McMillan


"this powerful, poetic play … manages to convey the subtleties of feeling, the complex motivations, humour and pain that the history books leave out"
- Robin Thornber, The Guardian


Liz's translation of Tartuffe into rhyming Scots was first performed by the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum in 1987. Among several subsequent productions was that directed by Liz herself at the 1994 Edinburgh Festival:


"a fruity, bawdy, wickedly funny affair"
- The Sunday Times


The play was then revived by the Royal Lyceum in 2006 as part of their 40th Birthday celebrations.


Britannia Rules opened at the Royal Lyceum in 1998 where her new version of The Three Sisters premiered in February 2000.


Other plays include Blood and Ice (Traverse 1982), Dracula (Lyceum 1985), The Big Picture (Dundee Repertory Theatre 1988), Cuba a play for young people (National Theatre/BT National Connections 1997-8), The Magic Island (an adaptation for children of The Tempest - Unicorn Theatre, February 1993), an updated version of the York Cycle of Mystery Plays (1992), Shanghied - a commission for Borderline Theatre - and Patter Merchants, from Moliere's Les Precieuses Ridicules, which played to full houses at Edinburgh in 1989 in a double bill called Professional Prentenders.

Liz's short film Latin For a Dark Room, starring Siobhan Redmond and Neil Pearson, received its premiere as one of the Tartan Shorts at the 1994 Edinburgh International Film Festival and was shown at the London Short Film Festival. A Goldstar Film, it was produced under the auspices of the Scottish Film Production Fund and BBC Scotland. The Story of Frankenstein was written for, and made by Yorkshire Television.

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