ENU Acting Staff

Mark Thomson

Lecturer in Directing

marktMark began working as an Assistant Director at the theatre Royal Stratford East and the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he worked with Philip Hedley, Adrian Noble, Sam Mendes, Katie Mitchell and Michael Bogdanov, then moved into the position of Associate Director of the Nottingham Playhouse.  His first Artistic Director position was for the Brunton Theatre where, under his leadership, the theatre won two Herald Angels a Scotsman Fringe First and the Stage Award for Best Performance at the Festival.  During this time his writing credits included Moving Objects, A Madman Sings To The Moon, Confessions of A Justified Sinner and Come on Feel the Noise.  From there he became the Artistic Director of the Lyceum Theatre, Scotland’s largest building based producing theatre company and steered a programme of work that celebrated excellence on the mid-scale and represented the company locally, nationally and internationally.  His last two seasons were particularly successful, winning 8 Critics’ Awards Best Production for Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle and Waiting for Godot.  He also directed 29 productions of which 15 were World Premieres, and 23 co-productions creating work seen at the Dublin International Theatre Festival, London, Chichester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Coventry, Bath, Glasgow Citz, Dundee Rep and Perth Rep.

As a writer for the Lyceum his credits include A Madman Sings to The Moon, Wondrous Flitting, Pinocchio, an adaptation of Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg and The Dark Road written jointly with Ian Rankin.

May Sumbwanyambe

Lecturer in Playwriting

mayMay has extensive playwriting and teaching experience and has worked for The National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera, the BBC, Vita Nova, Papatango, Creative Scotland and he has taught writers at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman, Bolton Octagon, The Traverse, Royal Court, Royal Exchange, Lyric Hammersmith and many more.  His play After Independence won the Alfred Fagan Audience Award in 2016 and was broadcast on BBC 4 this year.  He has a 90-minute radio play coming out on BBC 4 in 2018, and is currently on commission to write new plays for the Traverse, and the National Theatre of Scotland.  He has also been commissioned by the British Film Institute and Crabapple Films to write a new screen play and is working on an original television series for World Productions.  He trained as a lawyer and has served as a Senior Script Readers for numerous professional theatres throughout the UK.  His play, Enough of Him, has just been commissioned for production by the National Theatre of Scotland, and chosen as one of the cultural highlights of 2020 by the Times.


Donna Soto-Morettini

page-donna-soto-morettiniSenior Lecturer

Donna began her performing career as a singer and an actress, working throughout the Western United States, Canada and Asia for more than a decade. As well as live performance, she worked for many years as a studio singer, both for Producer’s Workshop and Larrabee Sound in Hollywood.

She returned to full time education and graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BA and an MFA in Directing and Performing. She did a D.Phil at Oxford University, under the supervision of Terry Eagleton in 1988.  She has since been awarded with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California.

She has been training actors in the UK for two decades and has served as the Head of Acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; as founding Head of Acting & Dance at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and as Director of Drama, Head of Musical Theatre, and Director of International Development for the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.   Her specialist subjects include Naturalism, Shakespeare & heightened text, Naturalism, Voice and Singing.

Since 2007 she has worked extensively in television both as a casting director and performance coach, and her credits include: ITV’s “Superstar” (Casting Director and Performance coach, 2012) and “Popstar to Operastar” (Casting, Performance and Vocal Coach, 2011); BBC’s “The Voice” (Casting Director, 2011-2017), “The Dare” (Casting, Performance and Vocal Coach, 2011), “Over the Rainbow” (Casting Director and Performance Coach, 2010), and “I’d Do Anything” (Casting Director and Performance Coach, 2008).  And is currently working on a new show for ITV. In 2005 she wrote and presented a 4 part-series for BBC Radio Scotland, called “Singing School”.

Her books include: Mastering the Shakespeare Audition (Bloomsbury, 2016) Popular Singing and Style (Methuen, March 2014), Mastering the Audition: How to Perform Under Pressure (Methuen, July 2012), and The Philosophical Actor (Intellect, 2010). Along with books, she has published many journal articles, and presented workshops and master classes on performing, auditioning and singing in various places throughout the UK, Europe and the United States.

She has been a Grand Jury member for BAFTA, The National Theatre of Scotland, the Global Search for New Musicals, an Assistant Editor of Theatre Journal, An Associate Director for Theatreworks, London, and an Associate Playwright for the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles.

Iain Davie

iain%205Programme Leader in Acting

Iain graduated with a First Class Honours degree from the Paul McCartney-inspired Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts – Iain received his degree from Sir Paul himself! Winner of the Philip Holt prize, Iain has directed and performed in a diverse range of productions throughout the UK to critical acclaim, including new musicals, classic plays and workshop performances.

Iain has had over 15 years experience in teaching and is currently a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. He has been a guest lecturer at some of the most prestigious conservatoire drama schools in the UK including Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama (now RCS) and The Birmingham School of Acting. Iain lectures in Directing, Improvisation, Narrative skills and Acting Technique. Although Stanislavski-based, his teaching & directing combine a variety of influences and styles. Iain was a selector and workshop leader with the National Student Drama Festival for seven years and has worked for the Princes Trust, helping young people with their performance skills.

Some of his directing credits include; Lotty’s War (Giddy Ox, UK Tour); Vincent in Brixton (BAC); The Glass Menagerie (Gale Theatre of London and Barbados), Mathew Miller, (Northcott Theatre); The European Premiere of the new musical Flight of the Lawnchair Man (BAC), About Face, (Cardiff Search For New Musicals), Tiny Tiny Tales (Stephen Joseph Theatre).

Credits for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival include: Confessions of Julian Po (European Premier and nominated for Musical Theatre Matters Awards, a part of the Fringe First Awards), Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens, Blues In the Night and the European premiere of 3hree. Others include Fathers and Sons (RSAMD), Hitchcock Blonde, (The Crescent Theatre), The House of Yes, The Memory of Water (The Old Joint Stock Theatre) The Libertine (The Birmingham Old Rep), Guid Sisters, Trips (BSA); A Small Family Business, August Osage County, They Shoot Horses Don’t They, Oleanna, A Man of No Importance, Good, Twelfth Night, 12 Angry Men, Time and the Conways, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Crucible (LIPA).

He has directed several productions for Edinburgh Napier: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Plaza Suite, the European premieres of The Secrets Hidden Behind the Beatles RockBand, and Fault Lines.

Time out called Lotty’s War “…An object lesson in Naturalism for the fringe stage”.

Musical Theatre Matters commented on Confessions of Julian Po, “… I had heard good things prior to my visit and it didn’t disappoint.”

Claire Smith from the Scotsman said about 3hree “WOW. And there was me thinking that I didn’t like musicals.”

Iain has extensive experience working as a facilitator and actor for a number of corporate clients such as BP, Simmons and Simmons, Osmosis, Identity and the Passport Service, Department of Health, DEFRA, Food Standards Agency, Hyder Consulting, ERM, Medical Research Council, Stephenson Harwood Solicitors and The Abbey National.

He is also a qualified photographer and while training he specialised in film. He has directed a number of short films and is a keen filmmaker.



Ian Dunn

ian%202Lecturer in Acting

Ian Dunn is a lecturer in the Acting Department at Edinburgh Napier and lectures in screen technique, acting theory encompassing many styles and influences, and directs across all media. Recent projects for the Festival have included productions of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and Fourplay (European Premiere) as director.

Ian studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama and has been a professional actor for over twenty years.

Having started his professional career at Scarborough with a season for Alan Ayckbourn, he went on to work at the Royal Court Theatre in London in many plays over the years: Six Degrees of Separation, Babies, I am Yours, Toast, Fucking Games and Terrorism.

He hugely enjoyed working with new writers and developing new projects and has taken his commitment and interest for new writing into his teaching and his own work.

Ian also worked at the RSC, the Royal National Theatre and Hampstead Theatre on a regular basis in plays such as Chips With Everything, Our Boys, Loveplay, Osama the Hero, A Doll’s House and Somewhere, to name only a few.

Whilst working in London he was also involved in many workshop productions at the Young Vic, the Royal Court and the Royal National Theatre Studio – all developing young talent, as he continues to do.

Amongst the many writers he has worked with are Richard Bean, Jonathan Harvey, Moira Buffini, Dennis Kelly and David Edgar, and directors Phylida Lloyd, Howard Davies, Dominic Cooke, Tony Clarke, Matthew Dunster, Thea Sharrock and Richard Wilson.

More recently he has worked on the Royal Court production of Richard Bean’s Harvest with Wilson Milam, and National Theatre of Scotland’s production of The Archivist at the Oran Mor and Traverse Theatre, directed by Graham McLaren.

Ian has appeared in many television productions over the years in both guest roles and as a series regular. Programmes include Waking the Dead, Holby City, Silent Witness, Murphy’s Law, Sea of Souls, Eastenders, The Bill, Gulliver’s Travels, French and Saunders, Heartbeat, Red Cap, Trust, Doctors, London’s Burning, Peak Practice, Bad Girls, Pulling, Shine On Harvey Moon, Soldier Soldier, Casualty, A Touch Of Frost, Bliss, Reach for the Moon, Girls in Love, and most recently River City, and in Coronation Street as Vinnie Powers.

His film credits include Screen Two: Stone Scissors Paper, Screen Two: The Merrihill Millionaires, American Friends and Bye Bye Baby.

Ian also has numerous BBC Radio productions to his credit.

He has been a Lecturer in Acting at Edinburgh Napier University for two years now, having taught at various drama schools on a part time basis and also as a guest lecturer.