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Peter was born in Glasgow in 1962.
He is the writer of some 50 professionally produced theatre plays principally in Scotland. He is currently under commission for Tay Bridge at Dundee Rep, The Ice Flow for NTS and The Signalman for Oran Mor.
He began his career at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in May 1985 with White Rose. That same month his play The Boxer Benny Lynch opened in Glasgow Arts Centre.
Other theatre work, includes: Muir and Losing Alec (Tron Theatre); The Breathing House (TMA Best Play Award, 2003, Lyceum Theatre Company); A Little Rain, (7:84) and Cyprus (Mull Little Theatre and Trafalgar Studios); his many adaptations include Neil Gunn's The Silver Darlings (His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen) which also toured throughout Scotland and was revived at the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010.
In 2012 he wrote the script for the Vox Motus/Lyceum production The Infamous Brothers Davenport and adapted Robin Jenkins' The Cone Gatherers for His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen. He also won a Fringe First in Edinburgh in 2012 with Why Do You Stand There in the Rain? performed by students from Pepperdine University in California.
His first Radio Play, The Genesis Rock, was recorded in 2013, and his play Janis Joplin: Full Tilt debuted at Oran Mor in November 2013 and has gone on to tour extensively. His 2017 adaptation of The Monarch of the Glen for Pitlochry Theatre won Best new Play at the CATSAwards in 2018.
He has workshop experience in the UK, and in Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and Malibu. He is a founder member of The Fence, an international network of playwrights and dramaturgs.
He has written songs and screenplays and television scripts though his main focus has remained live performance, including large and small scale community projects, and has a special interest in international groups, working with refugees at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. This included his Trilogy of Classical European Adaptations: Full of Noises, The Court of Miracles and House of Murders. In 2010, The Court of Miracles was revived for a Peter Arnott Season at Scottish Youth Theatre along with a new commission for a cast of forty young people, Jerusalem - The Song of Deeds.
In 2015 his first novel, Moon Country, was published by Vagabond Voices.
Peter was a recipient of a prestigious Creative Scotland Award in 2007. He was Writer in Residence for the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland 2008-11, where he delivered a series of lectures with actors on the social context and impact of Darwin's Origin of Species. More recently, recently he has been Writer in Residence with the Traverse Theatre and the ESRC Genomics Forum at Edinburgh University, and later held a joint fellowship at IASH, also through the Traverse.