Retrospectively Yours

A fond backwards glance at 2014 by Emma Campbell

Stop the online press! I will leaving Playwrights' Studio at the end of March after almost two wonderful years of habitation at the desk nearest the door. Where to next, you ask? Canada. For a year. Well that's the, slightly amorphous, plan. Hints and tips about the Canadian playwriting scene are welcome! Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about new writing and Playwrights' Studio's 10th anniversary year because it was a big one and I'm feeling reflective. 

In 2014 we provided development opportunities, at different levels, for:

Henry Adam, Jim Bay's 5 Billion YearsAlan Bissett's Souness, Selina Boyack's  Abandoned Land/MyrtleVlad Butucea's The Door, Kevin Carr's Friars of Berwick, Jack Dickson's Flying With Swans - which went on to be produced by A Play, a Pie and a Pint and the Traverse Theatre,        Lesley Hart's La Clé, Anne Hogg's Butterfly - which went on to be produced by A Play, a Pie and a PintMolly Innes, Jenny Knotts, Alison Lang's Saoghal Beag Dhòmhnaill Mhòir/Donald Mòr's Little WorldTom Leonard's new translation of Mother Courage and Her Children, Nicola McCartney's Rachel's House, Martin McCormick's Squash  - which went on to be produced by A Play, a Pie and a Pint and the Traverse Theatre, Rachel McGill's Chickens Don't Fly, Linda Duncan McLaughlin's Descent, Martainn Mac an t-Saoir's Beul na-Uaghach/Mouth of the GraveRob MacNeacail's Magaidh/Maggie, Sandy Nelson's Hooray for All Kinds of Things - which went on to be produced by A Play, a Pie and a Pint, Ronan O'Donnell's The Sin Eaters, Nuala O'Sullivan's The Bedding Tunes, Tom Pritchard's Jeremy, Hi, Rebecca Nada-Rajah, Sam Siggs's The Little Boy from the MoonHeloise Thual's All Women Got Something of Sido, Martin TraversSummer Rape, Winter Soup  and Morna Young's Netting - which went on to be produced by A Play, a Pie and a Pint.


Our Open Space event, facilitated by Improbable, was a wonderful weekend spent discussing the future of playwriting in Scotland and picking some of the best brains in Scottish theatre and beyond.

Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean and Bòrd na Gàidhlig supported new Gaelic writing through January's Urlar Lab. This project was the brainchild of actor, director and writer Iain Macrae who led and directed the development and readings. In partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland, we had the privilege of delivering Gaelic Mentoring with playwrights, Seonag Monk, MJ Deans  and                                 Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir.

TalkFest hit the Tron Theatre in April and then the Traverse Theatre and Fringe Central in time for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The workshops and masterclasses and lectures were deftly led by               Liz Carruthers, Clare Duffy, Oliver Emanuel, Robert Alan Evans, Natasha Gilmore, David Leddy, Ian McDonald and Douglas Maxwell.

TalkFest Feminism panel 14

TalkFest panels, chaired by Oliver Emanuel, Linda McLean, Nicola McCartney  and Gary McNair, debated and discussed some of the subjects vital to playwrights and artists working in Scotland today. Our panellists are more than worth a mention: Caroline BowditchAmy Cade, Rosana Cade,         Emma Callander, Fleur Darkin, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre, Christine Devaney, Artistic Director of Curious Seed, Alexander Devriendt, Artistic Director of Ontroerend Goed,       David GreigPolina Kalinina, Daniel KrassDavid LeddyJohn McCannRoss MacKay of Tortoise in a Nutshell, Graham Main, Mara MenziesPurni Morell, Artistic Director of Unicorn Theatre, Rona MunroLouise Quinn of a Band Called Quinn, Shona Reppe, Paula Salminen  and Peter Wilson.

2014 was also the year that TalkFest went on tour. Thanks to Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature programme and Creative Scotland, we visited Aberdeen, Annan, Dundee, Glenrothes and Inverness.  The workshops were delivered by, Kate Davidson, Chris Dolan,                                 Lewis HetheringtonLynda Radley  and Isabel Wright.

2014's fantastic Associate Playwrights and Mentors were Peter Arnott, Clare Duffy, Rob Drummond, Catherine Grosvenor, Zinnie Harris, David Harrower, Linda McLean, Iain Finlay MacLeod  and Lynda Radley.

1914 Machine 

Three new plays, White Ted and the Right to Die  by Jo Clifford, 1914 Machine by Clare Duffy  and Blind Eye  by Isabel Wright, were written and performed as part of the new writing aspect of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's MA in Classical and Contemporary Text. In 2014 the new cohort of students began working with Mike Cullen, Jules Horne  and Alan McKendrick. We were delighted to manage Pre-View at the Edinburgh Festival, a showcase of the new plays from the University of Edinburgh's MSc in Playwriting by Helene Cloete, Jackie Crichton, Deb Jones  and Charlotte Laidig.                   Lou Prendergast  continued her PhD with University of West of Scotland, supported by Playwrights' Studio.

Crossing the Lines returned to the Arches with its particular brand of text-focused boundary-pushing. In 2014 Playwright' Studio provided support to some companies with a new-writing focus. North of Scotland based Right Lines Productions presented Box Set. The Village Pub Theatre continued to do what they do best in Leith. And of course, who could forget the many wonderful Stage to Page events run by a voluntary collective of writers, directors and actors.

What a great year! Without all you wonderful writers, directors, actors, dramaturgs and partners it would have been very quiet and lonely so thank you for making 2014 what it was. Ok, enough reminising for one day. Or as Farmer Hoggett puts it, "That'll do pig, that'll do."




Top image: Rehearsed reading of Descent by Linda Duncan McLaughlin as part of TalkFest at the Ton 2014. Credit, Eoin Carey.

Middle image: TalkFest 2014 at the Traverse Theatre. Feminism is the New Black panel. Credit, Eoin Carey.

Bottom image: 1914 Machine by Clare Duffy, written and performed as part of the new writing aspect of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's  MA in Classical and Contemporary Text. Credit, Mihaela Bodlovic.   

Written by Emma Campbell at 00:00



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