2320 Playwriting with Ella Hickson and Al Smith, Guest Reader David Greig

2320 Playwriting with Ella Hickson and Al Smith, Guest Reader David Greig

Date(s) - Mon 15th May - Sat 20th May, 2023
All Day

Moniack Mhor, Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire , IV4 7HT

How do you find your voice as a playwright? What makes a provocative piece of theatre? What makes characters compelling and how do you build them into a story? In a course aimed at new and developing writers we’ll be discussing structure, form and voice and focusing on how to apply those concepts to your work. Across the week we’ll be listening to what you’ve been trying to say and offering advice on how you might say it better. We’ll also be considering how you might develop your play towards production. Please bring with you a head full of ideas, a willingness to share and an open mind. 

Al Smith’s recent plays include Rare Earth Mettle and Harrogate (both for the Royal Court), Diary of a Madman (Traverse & Gate Theatre) and Radio (Arcola, for Audible). For Harrogate he was nominated for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. He has written many plays for BBC Radio 4 including Life Lines for which he has won the BBC Audio Drama Awards for Best Series three times, a Silver Prix Europa and a Gold ARIA. He writes regularly for television and is a recipient of the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Prize. 

Ella Hickson is an award-winning playwright whose work has been performed throughout the UK and abroad. Her recent play Anna, a sonic collaboration with Ben and Max Ringham, opened at the National Theatre in Spring, 2019. Other theatre includes, Swive (2019) at The Globe, The Writer (2018) and Oil (2016) at The Almeida Theatre, and Wendy and Peter Pan (2015) at The Royal Shakespeare Company. She is a member of the Royal Society of Literature, a MacDowell Fellow and recipient of The Catherine Johnson Award. She is developing new work with The Old Vic, Tim Minchin and The National Theatre, and television projects with Kudos Productions and Warp Films.

David Greig is a multi-award-winning playwright who became the Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh in 2015. David’s most notable plays include The Events, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, Midsummer, Dunsinane and Europe. More recently, David’s new stage adaptation of Solaris, based on Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 soviet science fiction novel, was co-produced by The Lyceum, Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne Australia and The Lyric Hammersmith. In 2019 David teamed up with original creators Bill Forsyth and Mark Knopfler to adapt the international hit film Local Hero for the stage – this premiered in Edinburgh and opened at Chichester Festival Theatre in October 2022. David’s new stage adaptation of Joe Simpson’s best-selling 1988 memoir Touching the Void, which was co-produced by The Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic, enjoyed a run at The Duke of York in London’s West End in 2019/20. His other adaptations recently seen on The Lyceum stage include Strindberg’s Creditors (2018) and Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women (2016). David wrote the book for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opened in the West End in 2013 and then transferred to Broadway in 2017. His adaptation of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax opened at The Old Vic for Christmas 2015. 



The full fee for this course is £650. This includes your accommodation in a single room with shared bathroom, all meals, hot drinks and snacks from Monday afternoon until Saturday morning, and your tuition. For more information about the practicalities of our courses and retreats, please visit our About the Courses page.

A limited number of en-suite rooms are available for a £50 surcharge, and a limited number of Twin Room places are available at a discounted price of £600 per person. When booking a Twin Room place, please tell us in the comments box which gender you are and which gender(s) you are comfortable sharing a room with. This information will remain confidential.

A deposit is required to secure your place, which is non-refundable after a 14-day cooling-off period. The balance payment of £500 is due six weeks before the course begins. If you would like to pay the full amount earlier than this or at the point of booking, please call our booking office on 01463 592 828 or email info@moniackmhor.org.uk.


Please let us know if you have any access requirements, for example a ground floor bedroom and / or access to a wheelchair-accessible shower room. For more information about access to our courses, please visit our Access page.


This course is now fully booked. Please contact us on info@moniackmhor.org.uk or 01463 741 675 to be added to the waiting list.

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