Morna Young, winner of the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Playwriting Bursary Award

News 22 Nov 2023
Morna Young at the Fushimi Inari Shrine as part of the Traverse's Scotland-in-Japan Residency

The Traverse are delighted to be working with writer Morna Young on a new play, supported via the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Playwriting Bursary Award.

This initiative awards six bursaries a year to new theatre writers. Four bursaries are supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation (one is dedicated to the memory of literary agent Tom Erhardt) and two by Film4. Each bursary is worth £10,000.

Morna had the following to say on being granted this bursary;

"I’m thrilled to receive the Film 4 / PRF playwrighting award and for the opportunity to work with the Traverse throughout 2024. This award offers the privilege of time and space for me to explore and develop work for mid-scale theatre, to deepen my practice in a nurturing environment and to really interrogate the stories I want to tell moving forward.

During this time, I hope to play and experiment with themes related to created identities, illusions of success, and the masks we wear, particularly from a working class point of view. Whilst my work so far has been separated into two distinct strands – my large scale, often musical plays, and my smaller scale, character-driven comedies – I am excited by the chance to meld these in a period of focused reflection, research and development, away from a deadline driven environment.

I’m also delighted to be continuing and developing my relationship with the Traverse, as Scotland’s new writing theatre, and to work alongside Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls in this time of artistic discovery. Time and space is a real privilege in the arts, and I’m immensely grateful to the Peggy Ramsay Foundation / Film 4 for awarding this invaluable opportunity."

About Morna Young

Morna Young is an award-winning playwright, named ‘Scots Writer of the Year’ at the inaugural Scots Language Awards in 2019. Having previously worked with the Traverse as part of our Scotland-in-Japan residency in 2020, Morna wrote Demon Island: Takeo's Tale, a bespoke digital experience which was released to Traverse 3 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morna’s play, Lost at Sea, premiered at Perth Theatre in 2019 before touring Scotland, and subsequently winning two Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS). She also wrote the CATS-winning Runrig musical The Stamping Ground (Eden Court / Raw Material), which toured Scotland in 2023. Coming up, in December 2023 Morna's adaptation of The Snow Queen will premiere at The Lyceum, Edinburgh.

Other plays include Babs, Aye, Elvis, The Silver Superheroes and Netting for ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’. Her international work includes being playwright-in-residence for BATS Theatre in New Zealand.

As a working-class woman and native Scots language speaker, Morna is interested in exploring under-represented voices and her work often explores class structures. She has a personal interest in folklore, mythology and fairy-tales, and often draws on these within her writing. As a multi-instrumentalist, and half of the band Folkify along with Sandy Nelson, she regularly works with music and song in her work on stage and screen.

Aye, Elvis - part of the Traverse Festival 2021
Morna Young at Mount Fuji as part of the Traverse's Scotland-in-Japan Residency
Demon Island: Takeo's Tale - released to Traverse 3 in April 2022