English and Scottish Literature

Meet our playwriting graduates

Playwriting alumni tell us how the programme has shaped their craft and what they've gone on to do since graduation.

I would not be where I am today were it not for the Masters in Playwriting. Nicola McCartney's skill as a teacher and mentor was absolutely key in developing and understanding my craft, and makes this programme very unique, as do the practical elements. I recommend this programme most highly to those at any stage of developing their craft and voice as a playwright, and to those on continuing journeys to understand better the craft and mechanisms of theatre and what it is able to do.

Helene Grøn, playwright, librettist, co-founder of Leylines theatre company, and practice-as-research PhD candidateHelene graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2013 and is now based in Glasgow, Scotland

Coming back to the theatre community [in British Columbia] with my Masters has provided tons of opportunities. Knowing that I studied in Scotland (with the opportunity to work with Playwrights’ Studio and the Traverse during the festival), people were very excited to work on new projects with me. I’m [also] finding more and more adrenaline applying what I know about Playwriting to other projects and collaborations, like acting, podcasts, maybe even a graphic novel.

Brandon Shalansky, playwright, actor, director and teacherBrandon graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2017 and now works between the UK and Canada

The value of this MSc goes far beyond the excellent tuition and support you get from Nicola, there are also the connections that you make.  The opportunities to work with actors and directors provided by the course is unique, and can lead to longer term successful collaborations. Through a development session with Royal Conservatoire I hooked up with a very talented director and actors to take the play we worked on to The Cockpit, London. It’s what you write for - to get your work seen - and the course gives you opportunities to do this.

Andy Moseley, playwright, author, director, producer and tutorAndy graduated from our MSc Playwriting in 2017 and is currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland

What sets this MSc apart is its practical focus.  The intensive core classes dive into the craft of playwriting, and there are workshops with professional directors and actors each semester.  These were crucial for me in developing my writing and giving me hands-on experience in working collaboratively in a professional setting.  The final dissertation workshop and reading at the Traverse Theatre was an incredible learning experience.  This is all in addition to in-class workshops and seminars led by Nicola McCartney who is an incredible mentor.  Her insightful and incisive feedback on my writing was invaluable.  I came out of the course a more confident and thoughtful writer and with a portfolio of work that I am continuing to develop.  

Sonya Hayden, playwright, composer and lyricistSonya graduated from our MSc Playwriting in 2017 and is now based in New York City, USA

An important thing about the MSc is the community that you become part of. I love being able to count myself part of such a talented and inspirational group of artists. Artists whose work inspires and drives me onwards. Ours is a community that is flourishing. The course gave me an understanding of the craft of writing that allowed me to hit the ground running. And for that I will always be thankful.

Laurie Motherwell, playwright. He is currently developing ‘Comes Around’ with Macrobert Arts Centre.Laurie graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2015 and is now based in Glasgow, Scotland

The Playwriting MSc has been invaluable to me as a writer. I feel more confident not only in my abilities but also that I have a fantastic support network in my fellow writers and in Nicola, whose teaching enabled me to expand my horizons, both as a writer and a reader. It is a truly brilliant course, and I would heartily recommend it to those who want to learn the craft of writing scripts, and take their writing to the next level.

Catriona Scott, playwright, director and actorCatriona graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2017 and is now based in St Andrews, Scotland

The MSc Playwriting is a truly unique opportunity and I highly recommend it to all playwrights looking to further their skills. The knowledge and understanding of the craft of playwrighting Nicola teaches is incredibly comprehensive. The tools and advice she shared have become part of my routine and made me a better playwright. The chance to work with industry professionals and have your work performed as part of the worlds largest arts festival is extraordinary and inspiring. Becoming part of a nurturing and supportive community of fellow writers is priceless. The course gave me confidence in my writing, whilst opening doors within the industry to help me further my development and become part of a thriving community of theatre makers in Edinburgh.

Jill Franklin, playwright. One of Playwrights' Studio Scotland’s mentored playwrights for 2017/18.Jill graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2016 and is now based in Edinburgh, Scotland

The programme is incredibly comprehensive and gives you all the tools you need to actually write. The hands on approach is amazing. I got my dissertation play developed last summer at a theatre in Washington DC and my writing samples have gotten me in front of some pretty important people - executive producers at Netflix, Viacom, and ABC. I’ve now landed a scriptwriting job for a YouTube company - my videos have over five millions views together. 

Thomas Ambrosini, scriptwriter for Wisecrack and script readerThomas graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2015 and is now based in Los Angeles, USA

As a mature student with a long tail of life-experiences wagging behind me, the MSc in Playwriting offered me a chance to fulfil a life-long desire. Nicola McCartney has created a programme that shook me out of my comfort zone, in a good way, giving me opportunities to engage with a wide range of industry professionals and to join a vibrant and diverse community of theatre makers. I did my MSc over two years, that’s important for me, living in a rural area and with other commitments. Nicola gave me the confidence to pursue my passion for theatre making.

Carolyn Yates, playwright, producer, co-director of Buskers spoken word company, and project manager for Ryan Youth Theatre and Performance Collective StranraerCarolyn graduated from our MSc in Playwriting in 2017 and is now based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

The rigour and verve the MSc in Playwriting asks of its students is what makes it such a worthwhile programme. It builds your stamina and presses you to demand only the best from yourself. Nicola challenges students to be ambitious, have clear intent, and to nurture their plays into something performable and marketable. This has continued in my stage writing since leaving Edinburgh and has also transferred itself into the work I do in programming theatre, coordinating events, and writing for the page.

Devon Jackson, playwright, and arts administrator for the Writers' Trust of CanadaDevon graduated from our MSc Playwriting in 2016 and is currently based in Toronto, Canada

The MSc is undoubtedly the most intense, exciting, formative thing I’ve ever done. What attracted me to it, and what I found to be particularly valuable, was that in addition to the quality of teaching being incredibly high, every aspect of the course was rooted in, and informed by, industry practice. Each class was focussed on developing our craft, [and] the range and calibre of visiting professionals was really outstanding. The intimate nature meant that classes and workshops were a safe environment where you could take risks and try things out, knowing that everyone else was going through the same processes.

Jenny Knotts, playwright and librettistJenny graduated from our MSc Playwriting in 2013 and is currently based in Glasgow, Scotland

Find out more and apply

You can find out more about entrance requirements, start dates, fees and scholarship opportunities for this programme on the University of Edinburgh’s Degree Finder.

Degree Finder links straight through to EUCLID, the online system for applying to postgraduate programmes at the University of Edinburgh. Applications for studying in 2018/19 are now open.

Go to the Degree Finder page on the MSc in Playwriting

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nicola McCartney (Programme Director).