2440 Playwriting: Honing Your Voice with Ella Hickson and Al Smith, Guest Reader Douglas Maxwell

2440 Playwriting: Honing Your Voice with Ella Hickson and Al Smith, Guest Reader Douglas Maxwell

Date(s) - Mon 30th Sep - Sat 5th Oct, 2024
All Day

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

Honing Your Voice

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. 


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.

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. 

Guest Reader

Douglas Maxwell has been one of Scotland’s top playwrights since his debut in 2000.  His recent work includes So Young (The Traverse, Edinburgh Fringe 2024), Orphans (National Theatre of Scotland) and Fatbaws (The National Theatre of Scotland and the BBC). Fatbaws, directed by and starring Peter Mullan, was screened on BBC Scotland, watched by over a million people and nominated for a Scottish BAFTA. Previous plays include The Sheriff of Kalamaki, Man’s Best Friend, Decky Does a Bronco, Mancub, Promises Promises (staged in New York as The Promise) and A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity.  


The full fee for this course is £725. 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, which can be booked in advance for a £50 surcharge. We will also reserve an en-suite room for anyone who may need it due to a medical condition. This will be offered out as an upgrade nearer the course start date if it is not needed.

A limited number of Twin Room places are available at a discounted price of £675 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 £575 is due six weeks before the course begins. Refunds are not always available – please read our Terms & Conditions for full details about our cancellation policy. If you would like to pay the full amount in advance, please call our booking office on 01463 592 828 or email info@moniackmhor.org.uk.

Bursaries are always available, and you also have the option to pay in instalments. If you have any problems paying online, or wish to discuss paying in instalments or applying for financial help, or would simply like assistance, please contact us by emailing info@moniackmhor.org.uk or phoning us on 01463 592828.


Please let us know in your booking form if you have any access requirements, for example a ground floor bedroom and / or access to a step-free accessible shower room. We also reserve one en-suite bedroom per course for anyone who may need this due to a medical condition. For more information about access to our courses, please visit our Access page.

Terms and Conditions

Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking.


Ticket Type Price Spaces
Single Room (Deposit) £150.00
Twin Room (Deposit)
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.
Single Room (Deposit) with En-Suite Upgrade
Limited availability. We also have 1 extra en-suite reserved for participants who may need it for medical reasons. If the en-suites are sold out but you need one for medical reasons, please book a standard single room then let us know in the booking form below.
£200.00 N/A




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