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Ella Hickson

Full-time playwright Ella Hickson talks to us about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, joining Bedlam Theatre and having the confidence to do the things you love.

Name

Ella Hickson

Degree Course

History of Art and English Literature

Year of Graduation

2008

Ella Hickson

Your time at the University

My mum had always taken me to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a child and in my final year of school I put together a group of sixth formers and we took up a play. The buzz and excitement of the festival mixed with the romance and history of the city meant that I had my heart set on Edinburgh for University from a young age.

Going to University in Edinburgh was everything I’d hoped for and more – I had a hugely happy time there. I found the range and depth of what I was learning a real joy and I met people during my time at university that are still, ten years later, my dearest friends. 

In my second year I found Bedlam, The University Theatre Company and immediately felt at home. Putting on shows at Bedlam created a team spirit and a mad work ethic that made you feel like you could do anything. I think that place taught me that your own imagination is the only real limitation. 

I look back on my time in Edinburgh now and have a strong feeling of family and home – I hope life offers me the chance to return in the not too distant future.

There are few places in the world as beautiful, historic and romantic as Edinburgh. Every inch of the city is layered with hundreds of stories stretching back through history and for some reason you feel that in a way you don’t in other places. It’s the kind of city that makes you want to write.

Ella Hickson

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

I wrote a play, ‘Eight’, in my final year at Edinburgh that went on that summer in the University Theatre Company’s fringe slot. That play then ended up touring to New York and The West End. It was that springboard that bred what has now been a seven-year career as a full-time Playwright with ten produced plays under my belt. I am currently under commission to The National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Almeida Theatre.

The last six years has been great fun but also a lot of hard work. My time at Edinburgh was essential training in the kind of independent study and self-motivation required to complete large pieces of work under your own steam. I returned to Edinburgh in 2010 to do a Creative Writing MA – this gave me great practical skills and a wonderful community of writers - a lot of whom I’m still in touch with.  

There are few places in the world as beautiful, historic and romantic as Edinburgh. Every inch of the city is layered with hundreds of stories stretching back through history and for some reason you feel that in a way you don’t in other places. It’s the kind of city that makes you want to write.

Alumni wisdom

Enjoy your time. I worked very hard and did a lot of extra-curricular stuff as well. I often worried that I would regret not having partied more. I don’t – but I do regret having wasted even a second of that magical time worrying. Do the things you love – whether they be partying, performing or sitting in the library – and do them with the full confidence that they will, of course, be leading you in the right direction.