Glasgow Writers: John Hamilton May
Writer and Director
John Hamilton May, originally from North Yorkshire, is a Glasgow-based writer and director. He has just completed studying his M.A. in Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow and, aged only 22, already he's making quite a mark in the world of theatre.
His first play, The Room, won the Barclay Writers Award, 2007, judged by Sir Alan Ayckbourn. John was then admitted onto a two-year Arts Council England writers development course, during which he received positive feedback from The Royal Court Theatre, the iSPC and had work performed at the Harrogate Theatre and CultureShock! Festival.
He received a special commendation from The Scotsman for his first foray at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009 and his play, Love In The Past Participle, for which he was winner of Student Theatre At Glasgow (STaG) Awards for both writer and director, will be performed at this year's festival. (August 2013).
Prior to this you can catch the play at Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts on 19th July, 2013. It sounds very innovative - a series of monologues where 'Four separate lives become intertwined in this poignant, stripped-back look at love...in the past participle.'
John is very involved in working with STaG, a group, he explained to me, open to anyone but mainly made up of Glasgow University Students. His work with them includes adapting and directing a production of La Ronde and writing and directing Skin for STaG Nights, which went onto represent the University at the Inter-Uni Drama Festival in York.
His pieces have been performed across the UK and also in North America, where he studied as an exchange student at North Carolina University. It was a tremendous thrill for John when his play was performed professionally in the university's theatre at Chapel Hill.
Recently his work has been seen at the Traverse (What Will Men Wear When Women Wear Trousers), the CCA (Breaking the Seal) and the Kenan Theatre, N.C., USA (Baby Blue). John has received further commendation from BBC's Mark Catley, Yale Drama Award winner Neil Wechsler and cofounder of the Orange Tree Theatre, London, Auriol Smith.
I was lucky enough to catch John's performance piece, Breaking the Seal, performed by Ross Wylie, at the event In Our Own Words part of Glasgow's LGBT Festival 2013. A very powerful piece of theatre it was a perfect opener for the event and the audience's applause was loud and long.
I met up with John again at Booly Mardy's in Vinicombe Street in Glasgow's West End and enjoyed chatting about his creative work. I was also interested in hearing about his trips to far flung places such as Senagal, Ghana and Peru, where he has worked in the community as a volunteer.
He's certainly packed a lot into his life so far. Not at all short of creative ideas and ability, his attitude is all about 'getting up and getting things done' and that appears to be exactly what he's done.
Now that he's completed his studies I think we'll be hearing a whole lot more of John Hamilton May.
Pat Byrne, June, 2013
Love in the Past Participle
At Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013
Four separate lives become intertwined in this poignant, stripped-back look at love... in the past participle. Winning play of the New Works Festival 2013 by Barclay Award-winning playwright. STaG 2012: **** Skinny and **** BroadwayBaby.com. STaG 2011: **** Scotsman and **** Herald. Please see www.loveinthepastparticiple.com, our Facebook page or Twitter page (STaG_Loves) for more information.
2nd-10th, 12:05pm (not 4th)
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Nicholson Street, Edinburgh