2021 Playwrights

We are delighted to announce the seven playwrights who have been selected to take part in the Mentoring Programme 2021.

Leah Byrne

Leah Byrne is a young Indian-Irish playwright raised in South Wales, with a first-class BA English Literature (Bristol) and more recently an MSc Playwriting at the University of Edinburgh under playwright Nicola McCartney. Whilst at Bristol, Leah was accepted onto a Playwriting programme at the Bristol Old Vic under Chinonyerem Odimba, during which she developed her first one-act play Ars Poetica.

Leah will be mentored by Adura Onashile.

The play Leah will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

At the humiliating end of a public affair, a former couple stop eating. George first: years of disordered eating throw him into a final frenzy as his writing career, public image, and accusations of pederasty and homosexual activity spiral out of control. Caro, wife of the future prime minister, takes this as a provocation: still besotted with George, she mimics him, apparently as a sign of devotion. As public hunger for gossip grows, so does disdain for the formerly scandalous society couple, who enter a dangerous, visceral game of one-upmanship that picks apart the symbolism and sacrifice of going hungry.

Joanne Gallagher

Joanne Gallagher is a playwright and actor from Linwood. She trained at the Oxford School of Drama and has appeared in Film and TV (Outlander, Tell it to the Bees) and had her West End debut in Equus in 2019. She studied English Literature at Glasgow University. She is interested in writing about working-class Scots, romance and how we dance when we're caught in the mire. The Bouncy is her debut play.

Joanne will be mentored by John McCann.

The play Joanne will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

The Bouncy is a story about violent communities and wild joy. Set in Linwood in the first marching season post Referendum, it is about the relationship between Kirsty and Gee, sisters who are carrying one another aloft whilst both at low points in their lives. It is a celebration of working-class communities and an insight into loss of industry, domestic abuse, cultural privilege and why these women can only every find a love which is unmatched and unseen.

Andrea McKenzie

Andrea McKenzie is a writer, performer and director from Edinburgh. She studied acting and playwriting at Edinburgh's Telford College and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She has written three plays and several short stories. Her play  Aye or No about the Scottish Independence Referendum through the eyes of primary school children was described as a "must see" by the Edinburgh Evening News. Dark comedy After Party about love, excess and karma in the 90s rave scene was shortlisted for the Scottish Short Play Awards.

Andrea will be mentored by Annie George.

The play Andrea will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

Can a love affair born from the rave scene stay forever young? Or will disaster spring from Discoland, leaving bits and pieces all over the floor? Shapes are made and lines are drawn in this story of love, isolation and insomnia. As life moves faster than an Arches strobe, they soon discover parenthood requires commitment. But so does addiction. If God is a DJ, what happens when the music stops… and all that surrounds you is darkness? A play that will have you up dancing on your feet and crashing back to earth, just like an old skool night out.

Katy Nixon

Katy Nixon is an Edinburgh based writer. Her plays Straight Outta Saughton, Then I Met You and Fingers explore gender and sexuality. She writes a monthly short story for The Leither.

Katy will be mentored by Annie George.

The play Katy will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

It's December 1987, Leith. There is an AIDS epidemic, unemployment in Scotland is at an all time high and unrest in Thatcher's Britain is growing. Kaz, an anti poll tax activist, after being made homeless finds sanctuary in Stanley Road house. With the support of the other gay women that live there, Kaz begins to discover who she is. Suddenly it isn't enough to just be her girlfriend Debbie's secret. It isn't enough to be fighting alongside people who only accept a fraction of who she is. There is no time to wait to be seen.

Ellen Ritchie

Ellen Ritchie is a playwright from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire now based in Glasgow. She was on the 2019/20 MLitt Playwriting and Dramaturgy programme at the university of Glasgow. Her first play Hotdog explores the aftermath of trauma and challenges the notion that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

Ellen will be mentored by John McCann.

The play Ellen will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

The story of a remote "ghost piano" operator who interacts with members of the public from their room by playing music on a train station piano that appears to play by magic. The play will explore themes of loneliness, technology, privacy, and the power of the arts to make a connection.

Catriona Scott

Catriona Scott is a playwright who spent her formative years abroad and currently resides in St Andrews. She began writing plays in the second year of her undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews. Three of these plays, This Breathing World, her modern adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and Antic Disposition were performed (the latter, with the new title Shakespeare Syndrome) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. She graduated in November 2017 from the University of Edinburgh's MSc in Playwriting.

Catriona will be mentored by Adura Onashile.

The play Catriona will be developing as part of the Mentoring Programme 2021:

Ekaterinberg, Russia. 1936. When Marta Starikov's brother is arrested for protesting against the regime, she is determined to avoid his fate. She wants to succeed under Stalin's rule, but does this selfish ambition contradict with the state's ideals? When a subversive family moves into her communal apartment, their disgust with the system clashes with her adherence to it, and she begins to question her loyalty to the regime. As absolute truths become uncertain and tensions rise, will Marta be able to toe the Party line, or will the NKVD also come knocking for her in the middle of the night? 

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