Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Meet our graduates: Laurie Motherwell

An award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Laurie studied with us between 2010 and 2015, completing an MA Hons in History of Art and English Literature, and an MSc in Playwriting.

Head and shoulders photo of Laurie Motherwell against a black background
Laurie Motherwell, playwright and screenwriter. Photo © Stephen Mitchell.

Born, raised and based in Glasgow, Laurie Motherwell is a two-time graduate of the University of Edinburgh.

He studied History of Art and English Literature to honours level, with pre-honours options in Philosophy and Scottish Studies, then completed our one-year masters degree in Playwriting.

Laurie has been writing continuously since 2015. He was the 2019 recipient of a New Playwrights’ Award from Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland and is currently Resident Writer at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

Having had his play ‘Old Enough’ staged at Traverse Theatre in 2018, he returned to Traverse in April 2023 with his new work, ‘Sean and Daro Flake It 'Til They Make It’, which will also run again this summer as part of the theatre's 60th anniversary programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Considering the craft of playwriting

“I think I initially saw it as a bit of a shortcut” says Laurie, when talking about his decision to apply for the MSc in Playwriting.

“I felt like I had to justify to myself enrolling in a creative degree when my end goal was to embark on a creative career within that artform. There was always that nagging notion that it was unnecessary. That many of the skills, craft and understanding I was wanting to explore were things I could learn through experience.”

“However, it was absolutely the right decision. Through the programme, I had the opportunity to consider plays and the craft of playwriting to a far deeper level than if I had been left to my own devices.”

“What the Playwriting MSc gave me were the skills and understanding to assess at a higher level as an independent artist. [Eight years on] I’m still always learning and trying to develop”.

Incredible community and rich history

While Laurie has written many plays in his career, he describes his solo-authored work as only “part” of his job, alongside collaboration of different kinds with other artists and organisations.

It is unsurprising, then, that he has such positive memories of the Playwriting community at Edinburgh “which was and continues to be incredible”.

“Through it I have been able to engage with professional theatre practitioners and organisations across the Scottish and International theatre community. Being able to discuss your work, as well as the work of others (peers and professional), continues to be a great resource.”

“Edinburgh is a great city to study in. I did it for five years. It has a rich history, and in relation to this programme there are some incredible theatres and festivals on your doorstep.”

The level of teaching on the Playwriting MSc was excellent. We considered a broad range of work over different times and genres. This knowledge is vital; as I work, I can compare to other tried and tested performances. I loved it and would do it all again.

Laurie Motherwell

Are you interested in our MSc in Playwriting?

Our taught masters programme is a highly practical and immersive introduction to the theatre scene in Edinburgh, Scotland and internationally. It focuses on the craft of writing for performance, and on how a script plays out in real space and time in front of an audience. You’ll be assessed through a combination of portfolio work, essays and your final dissertation - a full-length play. This will be written with the advice of the Programme Director - a professional playwright - and developed through workshops and readings with a professional director and actors.

Find out more and apply for our Playwriting MSc on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder

Related links

Read 10 Questions with Laurie on the Traverse Theatre website