Director, producer and playwright   

Laila Noble is a freelance Director, Producer and Playwright, and Artistic Director of ClartyBurd.

She is also an Associate Producer at Dance Base Scotland. 

Laila is currently participating in the Lyceum’s ‘L20’ artists programme.

She graduated from Queen Margaret University in 2015 with BA (Hons) Drama and Performance.

What are your most memorable experiences of being a QMU student?

Without a doubt, it would be our student production company and the shows we took to the Fringe. Those experiences were invaluable. They gave me more confidence and encouraged me to find joy in everything I do, play, and in making glorious mistakes.

I still work with many of the people I graduated with (QMU grads are everywhere in Theatreland!) and everyone’s incredibly supportive of one another. 

Tell us more about your career path since leaving QMU.

My career path is a winding one and a little bit of a patchwork.

After graduating in 2015, I was awarded the Federation of Scottish Theatre’s (FST) Assistant Director Bursary to work with Kate Nelson (Artistic Director – Nutshell Theatre, and QMU lecturer) on a tour of ‘Hector’ by David Gooderson (Ed Littlewood Productions). This led to other projects with Kate and Ed.

I returned to QMU in 2017 to complete an Assistant Stage Manager internship with Marc Brew Company.

In 2018, I was fortunate to be awarded a second FST bursary to produce four Fringe shows. During the same year, I took ‘Moonlight on Leith’ to the Fringe which I co-wrote (with my writing partner Emilie Robson), directed and produced. The show received the Scottish Arts Club’s ‘Bright Spark’ Award in 2018 and was runner up at for Theatre Uncut’s Political Playwriting Award in 2019.

My recent work includes directing ‘Svetlana’ by Paul Matthews (Ed Littlewood Productions), directing ‘Elastic’ (Pride Plays at the Traverse) and producing Page2Stage at the Assembly Roxy.

In 2020, I started studying for a Masters in Playwriting and Dramaturgy at Glasgow University.

All of which led to my involvement with the Lyceum’s L20 programme, ClartyBurd being supported by the Ayr Gaiety’s ‘New Scottish Companies’ Programme, and all the things I’m hoping to do next.

"I’d say the common thread in all of my work has always been the people I've met and worked with, and the relationships I built at QMU – I wouldn’t have any of it without them."

Tell us more about what you're currently working on?

As well as working at Dance Base and continuing my attachment with the Lyceum as an L20 artist, I am currently a recipient of Shaper/Caper’s bursary for LGBT+ makers where I will be developing a new play for performance.

I’m also delighted to be back in the rehearsal room with JD Stewart directing his play 'One-Twenty One'.

This summer, I will be producing the Scottish tour of Alice Mary Cooper’s 'The Bush'. 

And, one of my plays, a finalist for the Hope Mill Theatre’s ‘Through the Mill’ Playwriting Prize, will soon be making its way to an Edinburgh stage - so watch this space!

What advice would you give to students and new graduates starting out?

Don’t give up. You might have to try your hand at lots of different things, and you may feel like you don’t know what you’re doing but if you persist something good will happen that makes it all worthwhile.

Be compassionate and kind to yourself and others.

Collaborate. You might think that you have to do it all on your own but you don’t. Art is a mutual act.

Bring what YOU have to offer. As a Queer artist, it was only when I started to speak in my own authentic voice (instead of trying to be what I thought was more acceptable) that I became interesting.

Work hard, listen to your lecturers and show them your passion. You never know when someone might ask them for a recommendation - it might help kick-start your career.


Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic


Drama and Performing Arts at QMU ....