My most recent script was SCAPE, for a fantastic group of MA students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Looking forward to following their careers as they head forth into the demanding profession of theatre. Bon voyaaage!
ALLOTMENT and THREAD were commissioned by Nutshell Theatre and their inspiring director, Kate Nelson, and have toured around the UK. We’re now on the third collaboration of the trilogy, WHERE THE DANCE IS, which has once again been funded by Creative Scotland. Plans are afoot for a production next year – watch this space…
Other stage work includes GORGEOUS AVATAR for the Traverse Theatre, Scotland’s new writing theatre. This was directed by fabulous artistic director Philip Howard, who I’m very grateful to for giving a first break to an untried and very nervous writer from the sticks. We had an amazing tour around Scotland, and it even went to Japan for a performance in Japanese. It was mind-blowing to see the play connect with a Japanese audience. At the time, no one had heard the word ‘Avatar’, so maybe we were ahead of the curve?
THE WIFE OF USHER’S WELL for Quondam Theatre was my first foray into musical theatre, and something I’d wanted to do for a long time (having been in various bands over the years). The play was directed by mega-multitalented Stefan Escreet of Theatre by the Lake, who brought in Borders accordion maestro Ian Lowthian. His jazz-inflected arrangements of traditional tunes are just wonderful. Best. Chords. Ever.
I’ve had several plays on BBC Radio. Here are a few highlights:
MACMILLAN’S MARVELLOUS MOTION MACHINE (BBC Radio 4). This was a collaboration between the marvellous Rosie Kellagher and Marilyn Imrie, and I’m very proud of it. The inventor of the bicycle hurtles down a hill and into… oblivion! With bouncing Borders fiddle music and a cracking cast of Scottish actors. I still listen to this one to cheer me up. Click through for a clip on this page.
LIFE: AN AUDIO TOUR (BBC Radio 4). This was directed by Philip Howard, and again we broke new ground by incorporating vox pops from the streets of Kelso into a scripted romantic comedy. I’m a big fan of using verbatim and found voices, having worked in local radio and been constantly surprised and delighted by people’s natural words and voice-music.
INNER CRITIC (BBC Radio 7/4 Extra). This was directed by BBC Scotland’s Development Producer, David Ian Neville, and chosen by BBC Writers’ Room for the First Blood season of writers new to radio. It’s special to me not just because I loved the genre, idea and format, but also because of what I learned from the script editor. She: Lose the narrator. Me: Aggh! No! Sob! etc. And I did it. And it was miles better.
SMALL BLUE THING (BBC Scotland, dir Rosie Kellagher)
OVERDUE SOUTH (BBC Scotland/Traverse, dir Marilyn Imrie)
LEFT AT THE LIGHTS (BBC Scotland, dir David Ian Neville)
ISLAND BLUE: A PLACE IN THE RAIN (BBC Radio 4, dir David Ian Neville)
I’ve written and directed (and edited – aggh) two short films:
I STILL LOVE YOU REALLY was a ridiculously optimistic attempt to film on top of the Carter Bar at the Scottish-English border during the indie referendum year. We didn’t know anything about film, cameras, editing and particularly sound, but wanted to make a Borders contribution to the National Theatre of Scotland’s YES, NO, DON’T KNOW SHOW. Miraculously, the weather was great, and you can see the film here: Joyce McMillan of the Scotsman called it ‘a brilliant essay in separation’. Must buy her a drink sometime. Borders actors Kirsty Jobling and John Nichol star. Must buy them a drink too.
THE BA is another optimistic film about Jethart hand ba – the ancient, anarchic street game played in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. The full version is still in production, but work in progress has been screened at a couple of short film festivals.