Author details

John Binnie


I am a freelance playwright/director. I co-founded Glasgow's Clyde Unity Theatre in 1986, and have produced over fifteen plays with them. We toured all over the country, and abroad, taking new Scottish work to America, Germany and Singapore. Performances were always backed up by community outreach work, where we developed many performances with local groups. I taught playwriting at the University of Glasgow, and in Amherst, Massachussetts. I was fortunate enough to have residencies in America where I could do American productions of my Scottish plays, while also devising new American plays. Recently I have worked for the British Council doing a large-scale musical dance drama Journey in Namibia and Scotland, and I helped create a new drama Our House which toured both Nigeria and Scotland. I often work with Brighton-based circus theatre company BandBazi and have developed four dramas for them involving words and trapeze.

About writer's work

My plays are diverse in range and subject matter, but really are all about feelings and emotions, and how individuals fit into the world. I have won three Edinburgh Fringe Firsts for Beyond the Rainbow (1989) about Judy Garland's visit to Glasgow in 1951, a cross-cultural lesbian romance Accustomed to Her Face (1993) and an aerial drama Breakfast at Audrey's (2005) about a Scottish teenager's obsession with Audrey Hepburn. A Little Older (1992) a memory play about brain damage won the Independent Theatre Award. My adaptation of Margartet Thomson Davis' epic Govan novel Breadmakers won the 1995 Scotland On Sunday Paper boat award. I'm currently writing a piano play Dark Haired Doris and a doubles trapeze drama on silks Two Lovers, Together Clinging. 

Websites featuring the author


Current events and projects

I do practical playwriting workshops. I work with participants at all levels of experience and background. Workshops are open to all, and are fun as well as stimulating and informative. I explore how you construct a play, looking at beginnings and endings. I encourage participants to use their own experience, and find the play within themselves. The participants write monologues and dialogue, then share their work with the rest of the group. We explore how character and setting influence the writing. Recently I worked in Brighton with a group of teenage refugees from Iran and the Yemen, and some English children. They collectively wrote a play in Persian, Arabic and English, which we presented for International Refugee Week. Two years ago I worked with Edinburgh's special needs company Lung Ha's and we constructed 2 dramas which had story and character, but no words. Currently I'm working for the Scottish National Theatre's Learn department helping Kilmarnock schoolchildren write their first plays.I'm also mentoring an older writers group on the Isle Of Bute, and writers who have experienced mental health problems in Dunfermline.

Other work

I have two plays produced on BBC Radio 4 -Beyond the Rainbow and Summer Sectioned.


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

0-4, 5-8, 9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type