Tom Murray

TOM MURRAY BIOGRAPHY

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TOM MURRAY is an award-winning, full-time writer based in the Scottish Borders.  He is principally a playwright, but has also had stories and poems widely published in the UK, Canada and the USA.

His plays have been performed and read at various venues in the UK, including the Traverse in Edinburgh and the Arches in Glasgow. His play, Sins of the Father, was a winner of the Rowan Tree Playwriting Competition and subsequently toured.

His profile on Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland webpage:    http://www.playwrightsstudio.co.uk/playwrights/tom-murray.aspx

He worked with Firebrand Theatre Company on the play What Lies Beneath. Further information: https://www.firebrandtheatre.co.uk/tom-murray

He is widely-experienced as a writing mentor in running workshops and reading and discussing his own work.

For further information see http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/profile-author/2768 or you can contact him at tmurraytg@aol.com to discuss.

He has held a number of residencies including Creative Writing Fellow to Tyne & Esk Writers across Midlothian and East Lothian. He was recently Scottish Book Trust Reader In Residence to Scottish Borders Libraries.

He was co-editor of the Scottish Borders literary magazine The Eildon Tree from 1999 to 2011.

He is a founder member of the Borders Writers’ Forum and has been a committee member, treasurer and chairperson.

Tom is working on two plays planned for 2019 and putting together a collection of short stories – amongst other work projects.

Further information can be found at https://tmurraytg.wordpress.com

PLAYS

PROFESSIONAL 

2018: Death of a Factory Performance. Short Attention Span Theatre Company. Old Hairdressers, Glasgow; Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh,

2018: Woodstock Rehearsed Reading. Drum, Glasgow.

2018: What Lies Beneath? Rehearsed Reading. Firebrand Theatre Company.  Part of Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland’s TalkFest in the Borders.

2017: And It Is Becoming Night Rehearsed reading. The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow.

2017: Honey for my Honey Reading. Theatre Royal, Dumfries.

2016: Radical Road Reading. Theatre Royal, Dumfries.

2015: You’re Supposed To Be A Doctor Short Play Theatre. CCA, Glasgow.

2014: By Its Nature Uncertain National Theatre of Scotland event. Five Minute Theatre.

2013: The Skull –  Sons of War –  Soldiers Tale –  I am Flooded Treading The Borders Theatre Company.

Short plays as part of Towards Flodden:  

2011: Sins of the Father Rowan Tree Theatre Company. Co-winner of Rowan Tree Playwriting Competition.

2005: Can You Hear Me? Arches Theatre Company.

Part of I Confess production.

2004: Your Mother Should Know Cross Country Theatre Company.

2002: Love You Tender Cross Country Theatre Company.

2001: Sex Maniacs Guide To The Borders Cross Country Theatre Company.

2001: I Am Sir Walter Scott. I Bid You Welcome Cross Country Theatre Company.

2001: Alison Park Cross-country Theatre Company.

YOUTH THEATRE:

2010: Tangents Co-written with Elizabeth Fuller. Clax Youth Theatre at Edinburgh International Fringe.

2010: Tangents Co-written with Elizabeth Fuller. Clax Youth Theatre at Clackswrite Writers Festival.

2008: Just Like Us Clax Youth Theatre,

2004: Snow White: The Untold Story Scottish Borders Youth Theatre.

2000: The Clash Borders Youth Theatre.

2000:  www.scottishborderspastpresentfuture.com Borders Youth Theatre.

Play for the Our Town project at the Dome, April 2000.

COMMUNITY THEATRE

2003: Opening Ceremony – Anna Grieve – Restrictionists – The Frenchman – Finale

A series of open-air community plays, Lauder 500 celebrations.

FILM

2015: Shush Short film. Part of Scottish Borders Libraries Transforming Libraries project. Book Week Scotland. Filmed by VOMO.

BOOKS

2006The Future is Behind You Poetry Collection. Selkirk Lapwing Press ISBN 0 95312129 1

2003: The Clash PlaySBC ISBN 0-9545052-1-2

1999: Out of my Head Stories. SBC ISBN 0-9535765-2-3

MAGAZINES – stories and poems published in:

Rebel inc; Northwords; Markings; Flytrap; Poetry Scotland; Poetry Update; Cutting Teeth; Eildon Tree; Iota; Tears in the Fence; Front and Centre; Lateral Moves; Fire;  The New Writer. Poetry Monthly; Northwords Now; Scheherazade; CoffeeHouse Poetry; Haiku Scotland; www.laurahird.com; The Write Side Up;  Aesthetica; Envoi; Southlight; Poetrygeek; Under The Radar.

OTHER MEDIA

2014: Soulmates Story. Eildon Leaves CD. Scottish Borders Council. ISBN 8-80992-13292-3

2005Can You Hear Me? Play. I Confess DVD. Filmed performance of play.

RESIDENCIES

Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers to April 2015.

Scottish Book Trust Reader In Residence to Scottish Borders Libraries 2013-2014.

Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers 2013-2014.

Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers 2010-2012.

Writer In Residence, Clackmannanshire Council 2006–2010.

Writer In Residence, Peebles High School 2006–2007.

Writer In Residence, Galashiels Academy 2005–2006.

Examples of work

Excerpt from a play Just Like Us written for Clax Youth Theatre in Clackmannanshire while Writer in Residence. A story of two fictional villages at war.

SCENE TWO

Forest entrance.

BILLY– You want a fight.  Come on then.

ANNA— They’ll hear you.

BILLY– Can we not have a laugh?

ANNA– And what if they come back up?

BILLY– By the time they run up the hill we’ll be back in.

ANNA– Bullets travel faster than soldiers. (Anna through the binoculars)  The place is crawling with them.  Like ants crawling all over our village.

BILLY– Rats you mean. We should have stayed.  We shouldn’t have run away.

ANNA– We had no choice.

BILLY– Of course we did.  We could have stayed and helped.

ANNA– And they’d be none of us left.

BILLY– We shouldn’t have left them.

ANNA– We better get back in.

BILLY– We could have beaten them. Look at them. Pathetic. And we ran. From that. Like frightened rabbits.

ANNA– There were thousands of them. We’d better be getting back. Nothing’s changed down there.

BILLY– You go back.

ANNA– You’re not thinking of sneaking down again are you? We got away and no more the last time.

BILLY– You didn’t need to come.

ANNA– Yea right.

BILLY– It was good, eh? Admit it. Go on. Admit it. You’re just as bored as I am in there.  (Anna smiles) I knew it.

ANNA– That doesn’t mean we should have done it.

BILLY– We have to do something.

ANNA– What if we’d got caught?

(Enemy soldiers pass in the valley below)

BILLY–(Shouts) Morning.

(The soldiers react. They can‘t see who has shouted but point their guns in the general direction of the Billy and Anna. Anna ducks down)

ANNA– Billy.

(Indicates for him to get down. Billy ignores the advice)

(The soldiers’ fire. Billy dives for cover)   

BILLY– How was I supposed to know they could fire that far?

ANNA– By using your brain. Oh, forgot you need to have one first.

BILLY– Ha. Ha. (Anna looks through binoculars again.) Anything?

ANNA– Something.

(A series of explosions from below sends them reeling)

BILLY–What is it?

(More explosions)

ANNA– Smoke.  Lots of smoke.  I can’t… (Billy tries to take binoculars. Anna shrugs him off.)  The smoke’s clearing.

(Anna looks shocked. Billy grabs the binoculars. Angry, he goes to run down the hill. Anna grabs him and drags him back)

BILLY– Leave me. I’ve got to…

ANNA– We’ve got to report.

BILLY– My house.

ANNA– We’ve got to report.

(Billy reluctantly lets himself be led back into the forest)

Poem

ON SEEING CAROLYN CASSADY AT WATERSTONES

She arrives, small, grandmother size,

pink glasses, pointed at the edge.

Pink suit on a pink chair.

Then the eyes behind the pink

glancing at the ghosts who sit

on either shoulder.

Jack Kerouac. Neal Cassady.

Glare and brood and smile from

books at either corner of the room.

While the lady sits to watch her

life, or that bit, which is forever in the spotlight,

frozen.

Sits to watch actors act her husband,

and herself, and Jack.

(It is not a pretty scene.)

She sits to watch, face tight, adjusts

the looking glass that slides down

her nose.

She sits to watch, while the audience

applauds the past.  She sits to watch the actors

take their bow. They can

leave

the stage.

She is forever stuck, carrying her

dead husband on her back.

To tilt his face towards the crowd.

“Meet my Neal. Look. This is him.”

But they turn their backs, to make

masks, to drop to their knees

to long for on the road.

Her husband will forever live in a

book, courtesy of his friend

Jack. Courtesy of the timidity

of others.

While death stills the beat of the

living – Burroughs gone, Ginsberg

beat him to it – only the wife

will remember the husband, will

remember the moments,

not stamped between

the pages of another’s mind.

Only the wife will know the man.

While others turn pages for

Dean Moriarty. She will watch

and see the man,

her husband.

Published in Poetry Scotland and collection The Future is Behind You

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