Writing & Dramaturgy

I’m really excited to have been invited by The Watch to complete a residency in Berlin in 2019, to begin work on a new play, about musicology, the Cold War and the end of Western Civilisation.

I’m also working on a play about a film about a protagonist with ME.

Writing

2017Deeds not Words

A play about rural women and the suffrage struggle, based on research into the Outer Hebrides' connections with the suffrage movement.

The play had a rehearsed reading at Teatermaskinen in Riddarhyttan (Sweden) in 2017.
2014Icarus
Text, for a mini-opera, for prize-winning composer, Hector Macinnes.
2013New York
A ten minute play for two women, and a girl. 'New York' was shortlisted by Little Pieces of Gold in August 2013, and performed as part of the Sydenham Arts Festival in July 2014.

2013Twin Towns and Sister Cities
With Chris Gylee.

A play for recorded voices and live illustrator. Twin Towns and Sister Cities is about Judy, a woman in her fifties, and her estranged twin sister, Carol. Their story is told with recorded dialogue and large-scale drawing in ink, paint and charcoal, mapping their relationship onto the walls of the performance space.

A ten minute scratch performance of Twin Towns and Sister Cities took place at Battersea Arts Centre in 2013.
2012We Have Won the Land
Scripted with a devising company.
With original songs by Hector MacInnes.

A play about Scottish land ownership and communities, set on the fictional Hebridean island of Murg, it was commissioned by The Islands Book Trust and produced by Rural Nations. The tour in Autumn 2012 played small venues in the Highlands and Islands, and ended with performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Reviews

This brilliant ‘must see’ play...managed to tell the complex story of the Murg community buy out in an engagingly simple, funny and highly entertaining way...An evening of fun yet food for deep reflection afterwards.
West Highland Free Press

Some might imagine this a heavy subject, but Toria Banks’ script and Muriel Ann Macleod’s direction made this anything but a dull evening. Funny, observant and full of humanity on many levels... Well written, well produced and well acted... this is topical and highly significant contemporary Scottish political theatre as well as great entertainment.
Aberdeen Press and Journal

[A] special occasion in Balallan’s life – at least for the folk lucky enough to get tickets for the show. The opening night saw the hall packed to the rafters and rightly so...If you’re not sure what community land ownership is all about then the best and most entertaining way of finding out is to go and see the play...There was lots of laughter amongst the audience throughout the night.
Stornoway Gazette

This contemporary exploration of the issues of land ownership in the Highlands reminds us that the statistics of land ownership which prompted “that play” and the name of the 7/84 Theatre Company have not changed radically... There have been fine victories, in Eigg, North Harris and Galson for example. But then there is the steady work of building partnerships and pursuing sustainable development. This play caught the personal notes behind the politics of land ownership very well. I’d recommend this play as an entertainment which also raises some questions well worth asking.
Ian Stephen, Northings, (‘Arts and Culture in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland’)

Audience Feedback

Rural Nations invited all audience members to complete a survey after the show (and 61% did). Of those who responded, nearly all (97%) gave the show 3 or more stars, and three quarters (76%) gave it the maximum rating of 4 stars. Here are a few of the nice things that people wrote:

“Amazed by how many truths you hit on the head.” Audience member, Edinburgh

“Very well researched and relevant to current issues in Pairc.” Audience member, Balallan

“Different from any play I have seen – honest, direct, intriguing. Very enjoyable.” Audience member, Leverburgh

“Thought you were all just pure dead BRILLIANT.” Audience member, Luss

“I recognise all these people in my own community.” Audience member, Carinish

“Meaningful drama of its place. Also funny which is good.” Audience member, Mull

“The space between the comedy and the seriousness in the play was beautifully done.” Audience member, Abriachan

“Really got me thinking, and I felt like I was out there on the island.” Audience member, Glasgow

Dramaturgy: Devised Shows

2013The Angel Project
A durational, site-specific performance inspired by William Blake's connection with Primrose Hill. Written and performed by Liv Spencer.
View the website here
Primrose Hill Park
2010Roghainn nan Daoine/The People’s Choice
I worked with the company, and director John Wright to produce a script for this show about the birth of the Free Church of Scotland in the midst of the Clearances.

‘At last...the show in which this ambitious company finally assembles all the elements it needs to begin to play a major role in Scottish theatre life. At the core of the event, there’s an astonishing and powerful story, full of resonances for the 21st century.’
The Scotsman
Theatre Hebrides
Tron Theatre and Touring
2009The Fragility of X
A devised play about art and learning disability. My role was to conduct research, find and edit ‘found’ text, and to contribute to the script.

‘**** Incredibly funny, enormously moving.’ The List
‘****Walks a fine line between comedy and a far darker place.’ The Scotsman

Award winner Spirit of the Fringe 2010
Nominated for Fringe First
COAL
Manchester Royal Exchange

Dramaturgy: Classic Texts

2012A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I worked with directors Paul Hunter and John Wright, and my Finnish counterpart, to create a new, bilingual version of the play, and worked with the company on the text in rehearsal.
Told by an Idiot
Svenska Teatern, Helsinki
2009Hamlet
I created a new 90 minute version of the play, with three actors playing Hamlet simultaneously, for this project with Central students, which I co-directed with John Wright.
Central School of Speech and Drama
2008The Fair Maid of the West
I worked with the company to create a complete and satisfying 90 minute text, from the two plays by Thomas Heywood.
Third Party
Outdoor Touring

Workshops

2012Plays on Words(Facilitator/Director)
Workshops for young people, aged 11-18 on adapting fiction for the stage, using Gothic short stories. In two sessions, participants looked at events, scenes and structure; and character and dialogue. The scripts were performed by professional actors.
Big Telly
Lyric Theatre, Belfast