FEMALE ARTS Present REBELLIOUS ACTS

Rebellious Acts flier

14 May 2016

Female Arts in association with South Street Arts Centre celebrate five years of gender equality activism with ‘Rebellious Acts’ an evening of incendiary new writing on Saturday 14 May at South Street Arts Centre in Reading. (Book here.) 

Rebellious Acts features rehearsed readings of short plays by female playwrights, followed by Isobel’s War by Kate Saffin; a drama about a young woman defying family expectations to manage boats and cargo in World War II. The evening closes with a post-show discussion on feminism in theatre.

Rebellious Acts forms part of Female Arts magazine’s fifth birthday celebrations. The online gender equality arts magazine was founded at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2011.

Editor-in-Chief Wendy Thomson said “Five years ago I started this online magazine / movement called Female Arts and what a fabulous collective of empowering, talented, inspiring women and men it is – who all share a vision of a fairer world: where women have an equal profile to men in the mainstream media and the focus is on what women do and say. Obviously this goes beyond the arts, and is about addressing wider inequalities in everyday life.”

Rebellious Acts is complimented by free-to-attend writing workshops on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May, as part of Reading Year of Culture. Wendy Thomson explains:

“On Friday 13 May we’re holding a review writing workshop to encourage volunteer writers to join our magazine. This is aimed at young men and women with an interest in journalism. Through a combination of discussion and practical exercises, attendees will learn the role of the critic and how to structure a performing arts review.” Book here.

“On Saturday 14th May we’re running a short-playwrighting workshop aimed at women from diverse and marginalised backgrounds who want to explore the playwrighting process.” Book here. 

The playwrighting workshop is for women only “because women are outnumbered two to one by men among British playwrights which is why it is so important to improve visibility and recognition of female voices in all our diversity.”

Both workshops are free to attend but must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

Rebellious Acts is supported by South Street Arts Centre. Rebellious Acts and the writing workshops have been granted funding by Reading Borough Council as part of Reading Year of Culture 2016.

#RebelliousActs / #FemaleArts5 / @femalearts / For full details visit: www.femalearts.com

Posted in Debate, Discussion, FemaleArts, feminism, gender equality, Women playwrights, women writers, workshop, writing tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

WhitLit Festival presents The End of the Affair

 

AlisonMedaFlier

KCT poster

A new play by Alison Mead will be part of the Whitstable Literary Festival. (You can see our interview with Alison about her previous play A century of great women.)

The new play The end of the affair explores hope, chance and life in the theatre. It surveys our current attitudes to ageing and the glut of “reality” that pours out of our television screens. It is a homage to optimism.

Whitstable Library, 14 May, 4.30pm

Tickets available from www.horsebridge-centre.org.uk

 

 

Posted in female playwrights, Festival, Literary Festival, plays by female writers, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Eggs by Florence Keith-Roach: interview

17Percent recently interviewed Florence ahead of seeing her new play Eggs performed at the London Vaults, as part of the Vault festival. This unsuspecting venue, which used to be the Old Vic tunnels tucked next to/below Waterloo station, has been transformed for a time into a wintry version of the Edinburgh Fringe. The feel of the place reverberates through the space of the Crescent, where is Eggs is being staged, and there’s a collective excitement in the audience that comes with a natural fringe setting. In fact this play had its first outing at Edinburgh last year, but has since been developed by Keith-Roach and her creative team.

A rudely honest piece that explores darker aspects of female friendship, the play presents us with a funny yet, at times, surprisingly outlook on the way young (Y generation) women relate by constantly competing with one another, sometimes to the point of self-destruction. In the space of an hour we watch episodes across two years of a friendship that has been defined in the wake of losing a mutual friend. Girl 1 and Girl 2, played by Keith-Roach and Amani Zardoe are both in their late twenties, but exist in completely difference spheres, but also just down the road from one another.

Even though they ruthlessly berate one another’s lifestyle choices, from work to relationships and confronting their identity as fertile (or not) women approaching 30, there remains a deep connection that saves them from the total alienation of finding your way in the world. Keith-Roach’s writing doesn’t shy away from any of this aggressive reality, but in the end Eggs celebrates the inherent sisterly bond that allows women to face these questions together, and laugh at them.

Joanna Lally spoke to Florence Keith-Roach for 17Percent.

JL: It seems that, even during this optimistic moment for feminism, many women are still confronted by the expectations of society as well as our own bodies. How did personal experience of these types of pressure drive you to bring such issues on to the stage?

FKR: As I wrote Eggs I was discovering just how many of my internal anxieties are born out of systemic external pressure. Most of these I am barely aware of, numb to the incessant and insidious adverts showing women in their 30s urging us to cover up grey hairs or find the perfect date online. We are constantly reminded how liberated we are in the media, beautiful women with ten Oscars and fifteen children are plastered on front covers of magazines. In this era of “choice feminism” the blame for failure is laid shamefully at our feet, rather than linked to the patent inequalities with which our culture is rife. We are sexualised in our youth and cast aside in our middle age, told we are equal and empowered yet shut up and vilified by anonymous misogynistic trolls. It is this turmoil that my characters are attempting to make sense of in Eggs. That I am still trying to make sense of in life.

JL: In this vane, Eggs seems like an incredibly exciting, and timely, piece of work explored through another topic: female friendship. In your view, are experiences of fertility and femininity inextricably linked? 

FKR: Have you observed this shadow hanging over relationships with female friends? As I entered my late twenties, I suddenly started to be cast as a young mum. Of course this is not radical, I am of a “mothering” age, but the chasm between society’s view of me and my own feelings about motherhood (not planning it anytime soon) were striking. I was over 25 and therefore a young mum with someone else’s baby strapped to my chest. My female friends have an array of attitudes towards motherhood, fertility, womanhood and femininity. One can be extremely feminine and infertile, or overwhelming fecund and entirely un-feminine. It is a colourful spectrum and this is what makes writing about women so rich and complex. However, as we mature out of our 20s and into our 30s, we are having more and more conversations about motherhood, fatherhood and the indomitable force that is our fertility. Whether you chose to ignore it or to embrace it, I think women do have to address is at one point or another.

JL: The play also looks at the experience of fragmentation. Would you agree that a sisterly bond between women helps retain our sense of self in an alienating world?

FKR: Absolutely, yes. My female friendships have always been my source of strength and rationale, have brought me back from many a precipice. These connections are mysterious, mercurial, volatile and dynamic. They have been so formative for my self and my understanding of the world.

JL: Music, especially pop and disco, has been an important feature in your previous work, including critically acclaimed play Love to Love to Love you. Can you say more about the way music influences your writing, and perhaps the world of your characters?

FKR: My first play was a musical about sex, disco and loneliness. All the characters danced and lip-synched to iconic disco tracks in between scenes.  It was a farce and a celebration of a music genre I love, but the music also provided much of the pathos of the piece, which was about the anticlimax of a modern, fragmented life.  My short film, Frenching the Bully, is about two dweebs obsessed with the utterly brilliant and unique grunge singer Mia Zapata of the Gits. Her gritty authenticity provides a constant contrast to their flaky, quest for fame.

Eggs focuses on 90’s dance/pop music. This is the music from the characters’ youth. They are nostalgic for this past, a past before responsibility, before grief, a time of best friends, chokers, Romy and Michelle’s High school reunion and dance routines in nightclubs.

In short there has been a soundtrack to many of my most formative experiences in life. So when I write about these experiences, it is natural that music is always near at hand.  I keep tabs of great music sequences in films and feel that, though its role is different, great music is too often ignored in theatre.

JL: Are there any specific challenges or rewards in writing (and performing in) a two- hander? How does that fraught nature of female friendship, which you choose to explore in Eggs, translate in performance? 

FKR: A two hander allows one to really explore character and relationships. I had so much to say about female friendships that by choosing to focus on just one such connection, I could actually portray a far more intricate and multifaceted picture. The characters are witty, sharp and cutting at times, they have a highly nuanced relationship, and bringing out this unique flavour in performance has been one of the most exciting and enriching experiences of the whole process. Lucy Wray, the director, has brought insight and tenderness to this piece, she has made me realise things about these women that I did not know existed even as the writer. Performing a two hander is intense, we never leave the stage and the audience are offered no respite from these two women. As an actor this has been a steep learning curve. We have worked to expand our range, present all the different angles of these women, and to really build a deep, relationship with a lot of history on stage. Amani Zardoe’s performance is so thorough, dynamic and tender.  I have learnt lot from working opposite her. Hopefully all our work in rehearsals means that the audience are presented with women who are both wholly recognisable and loveable, laughable and terrifying. It was these multiple, complex women that I was striving to portray in the writing, and naturally, it has only been in the performing of them that they are truly brought to life.

JL:  Following on from the above, it is notable that the production team for this play is largely female driven. Was this a conscious choice? And has the experience of working together had an impact on the play’s content, and perhaps on perceptions of your own experience? 

FKR: I began working with Lucie Massey, producer and co-founder of Orphee Productions, when I was looking to stage my first play. I knew no-one in theatre, especially no producers, and Lucie had been organising some really interesting events which I had been to. When we came to  build the rest of our team, I just looked around my talented friends and they all happened to be female. For my next play,  I had been engaging more and more with the shocking statistics about gender disparity in the arts, and inequality in general. When I started writing Eggs, I had made a conscious decision to focus solely on the female gaze.  I felt it was important have a female director, but Lucy Wray was the stand out choice regardless of gender. She had been dong some very exciting work, so we were thrilled that she was interested. Orphee Productions is not exclusively female at all, but  I feel that  we need to work together to champion more diverse perspectives, and this will always remain our priority.

Eggs closed its VAULT festival run on 6 March, but it feels as though this play is really just beginning to hatch – we expect to see it enjoy life elsewhere in the near future. It has also been published in a collection by Nick Hern Books as one their 5 best plays from the festival.

For more information on Florence and Orphee Productions, see her website.

 

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Female Arts’ new Friend Scheme

 

Wendy Thompson, Editor of Female Arts

Wendy Thompson, Editor of Female Arts

Female Arts magazine launched a friend scheme on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016.

The online arts review magazine, headed by Editor-In-Chief Wendy Thomson is based at South Street Arts Centre, Reading and reviews events across the UK.

“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PledgeForParity where business leaders from Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group to Mark A. Weinberger the CEO of E&Y have made the pledge. We’re inviting everyone to make the pledge by joining our friend scheme so that we can continue our work to promote gender equality in the arts.”

Female Arts magazine annually reviews hundreds of female led performances, exhibitions and events and has a dedicated volunteer team of writers.

Female Arts also produce events. Wendy Thomson said, “As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations we co-produced the launch of a new award for emerging female playwrights at the Greenwich Theatre in London – RED Women’s Theatre Award on Sunday 6th March 2016. We have also organized events at The Southbank Centre and The Bread and Roses Theatre, working with other advocates for gender equality including Gender and Performance (GAP) Salon and the So and So Arts Club.”

The Female Arts friend scheme is available to join from £30 a year at www.femalearts.com/friend where the benefits include a profile on the Female Arts website and networking opportunities.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/femalearts
Twitter www.twitter.com/femalearts

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RED Women’s Theatre Awards launches this Sunday

effie.jpg

Effie Samara

A new award for female playwrights will be launched at Greenwich Theatre on Sunday, March 6, with rehearsed readings of four one act plays presenting four challenging political voices.

The RED Women’s Theatre Award, co-produced by creative online magazine Female Arts, is the idea of playwright Effie Samara, whose current research at the University of Glasgow is focused on the potential for revolution in female-authored British drama.
“I’ve had it in my head for 10 or 15 years but this seems like the right time,” said Effie. “We live in a time of war and exile and it needs to be talked about, not just as it has been through history by men but by women too. Most of the work is about being progressive. I’ve yet to see a text in the scores we have received that’s looking to preserve the status quo. After lots of provocation women are becoming more and more fearless and are becoming what they want to be. This government is giving us an awful lot of headaches and, living up here in Scotland, we are still wondering how it happened.”

Effie has a panel of readers, including academics and theatre professionals, but has read at least part of every script herself. She said: “it’s so personal to me that I would never have allowed myself not to have personal knowledge of all the scripts. Given that we made the announcement in early November, and we gave writers a deadline of January 15 – a very short time – we have had some shockingly good work. Some are from very young women and two or three are from quite well-known names. I’m looking for a evolutionary aesthetic in female authored drama and we’re well on our way. In a year or two I’m sure we’re going to get a masterpiece – maybe it’s even one of these plays set to be showcased in Greenwich.”

Female Arts
Editor-In-Chief, Wendy Thomson, said: “We’ve been championing women in the performing arts for five years this spring so we’re delighted to work with Effie Samara – our Edinburgh Editor – on her vision for an award for emerging female playwrights. It’s so important to improve visibility and recognition of female voices in all our diversity, which is why I founded Female Arts magazine to promote gender equality in the arts. The Female Arts team are fully behind RED Women’s Theatre awards, including Amie Taylor and Kate Saffin who are directing. It’s fantastic to have the first regional showcase of the awards at Greenwich Theatre who do so much to support female theatre makers.”

Artistic and Executive director James Haddrell said: “Women are not only outnumbered by men by two to one among British playwrights, they are not often writing this kind of work, not because of a lack of desire but because of such a low expectation of having their work produced. Submissions could have a historic or modern setting, could respond to particular real events or be entirely fictitious, could be about local, national or international politics, as long as they responded to the call to action issued by RED. As part of the panel I read the fourteen plays on the long-list and was struck not only by the quality but by the sheer diversity of approach. After an incredibly difficult series of discussions, we are all incredibly proud of the four shortlisted plays, and the evening of play-readings on March 6 is set to be an exciting event.”

The four plays are GONE by Kate Webster; UNDER MY THUMB by Cassiah Joski-Jethi; DISSONANCE by Paper Cage Theatre and SPURN THE DUST by Sian Rowland.

RED Women’s Theatre Awards
@redwomentheatre www.facebook.com/redwomentheatre
Presented by: Effie Samara, Greenwich Theatre and Female Arts
Sunday, March 6, from 6.30pm. Tickets £7 (including £1 booking fee)
Box Office 020 8858 7755 www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk

For full details visit www.redwomenstheatreawards.com or www.femalearts.com.

Posted in Awards, female playwrights, feminism, gender equality, Launch event, new work, plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, playwriting competitions, prizes and awards | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Susan Smith Blackburn Prize to be announced tonight

“The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is an extraordinary award and a vital part of the theatrical landscape in both the UK and the US. It has been at the vanguard of the movement to promote female playwrights and theatre makers for over thirty years. We need this award now, more than ever and I’m extremely proud, as a Trustee of the Prize to be welcoming the 2016 award ceremony to the National Theatre.”

Deputy National Theatre Artistic Director Ben Power

This year’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be awarded tonight at The National Theatre,  the first time the Presentation Ceremony has taken place at there.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 (£17,320), and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000 (£3,460).

Many of the winners have gone on to receive other honours, including Olivier, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Eight Susan Smith Blackburn finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The 2013-2014 Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. Subsequent to winning the 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Flick, Annie Baker was honoured with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Steinberg Playwright Award as well as with the Horton Foote Legacy Project. Baker’s The Flick comes to the National Theatre in April this year.

Other recipients of the Prize include Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, Nell Dunn’s Steaming, Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (Dishonour), Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Gina Gionfriddo’s U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter’s Fall, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, and Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare.

Chosen from over 150 plays nominated by theatres, the finalists are:

Sarah Burgess (U.S.) – Dry Powder
Rachel Cusk (U.K.) – a new version of Medea by Euripides
Sarah DeLappe (U.S.) – The Wolves
Sam Holcroft (U.K.) – Rules for Living
Anna Jordan (U.K.) – Yen
Dominique Morisseau (U.S.) – Skeleton Crew
Lynn Nottage (U.S.) – Sweat
Suzan-Lori Parks (U.S.) – Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1,2 & 3)
Bea Roberts (U.K) – And Then Come The Nightjars
Noni Stapleton (Ireland) – Charolais

UPDATE: And the winner was… Lynn Nottage for Sweat.

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Yen – review

In 2013, Yen won the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and premiered at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre before transferring to the Royal Court.

Yen is fierce and disturbing. Anna Jordan is the kind of writer who climbs right inside her characters’ heads, roots around for all their darkness and spits it out onto the page with humanity and humour.

I first came across Anna Jordan in the launch issue of Bare Fiction Magazine. Her short play Closer to God was so affecting and beautifully written, I immediately declared her the next big thing. I wish I’d put money on it; within weeks, she’d won the Bruntwood Prize – one of the most coveted awards in the world of playwriting.

Yen is the story of two teenage brothers and their dog. Wearing jeans and sharing a t-shirt, we watch them struggle against the tough life they lead. The story takes place almost exclusively in one room with a sofa bed, a TV, games console and an electric fire. This claustrophobic setting is cunningly fractured by the soundscape, banks of imposing lights, ropes and scaffolding which work together to give a vast kind of energy to the action. The play crackles along, rubbing on your nerves and turning your stomach. In a good way.

Yen is a massive tale of love and redemption told in ordinary, heart-breaking details. If you can fight someone to get their ticket, then I suggest you do. (Or if you don’t like fighting, a returns queue runs from 1 hour before the performance.)

Yen is at the Royal Court till 13 February. More info.

© Sarah Hehir 2016. 

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Vote for 17Percent in the Galaxy Chocolate Fund

We have submitted an entry to the Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund. If chosen, we’ll spend the £300 prize money on buying a PA and lights to help get our She Writes showcases running again.

Please vote for us!

 

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Clickbait – review

Clickbait is a play by Milly Thomas, a compelling and powerful play about women and the sex industry, still very much a taboo subject as there are so many facets to the porn industry that are not challenged and simply not spoken about; as it is still seen as a male dominated industry.

Clickbait is being shown at Theatre503 in London, and as I entered l was greeted by nice comfy seats and fairy lights – my idea of heaven. The theatre is a good size with rows of seats and a relatively large stage, the first scene was set in a bedroom in the sisters’ house, a double mattress on the floor, as the play progressed after the interval, the bed had gone and there was an office and narration from actors in animal masks, there was also audio, which gave the play a nice touch.

It is a play that does not hold back, it tells you the story of three young sisters, and their own individual journeys and their respective relationships with one another; a story which also tests their commitments to each other. It is a play about education, control and lack of control; it shows the faults when things go wrong and how they stumble over dealing with complaints, eg, when a customer didn’t want her video to go online.

It is a story about porn and the internet, how porn has changed over the years from asking for the sex mags on the top shelf of a newsagents to engaging with sex immediately online, and the new challenges that brings.

We have the three central characters Nicola Baker (Georgia Groome), the middle sister, Gina the eldest (Amy Dunn), and Chloe (Alice Hewkins), the youngest who is still at school. Nicola is in a relationship with Adam, and she learns that she is going to be a victim of revenge porn, filmed at an end of holiday party. Nicola’s loyal and loving boyfriend Adam has no idea about her recent encounters.

As a result of the potential footage about to be posted online, she posts it herself, and hence Protest is born, a business idea that all the sisters and even Adam are involved in, working legitimately within the porn industry setting up their own company and business. Protest is about sex, it is a home movie booth, that has no links to prostitution; a service to make sex fun without the strings or emotional attachments.

It is a way to eventually make revenge porn a redundant concept, (in the right direction in any event as it is now a criminal offence). Protest allows for participants to post their videos, they sign an agreement saying all parties are happy and videos can be posted online without it being a statement of revenge.

The booths are for fun, for having sex, and making it fun and not a boring chore; it is about both sexes having fun with sex. There is a line in the play that simply says ‘my name is Nicola Barker and I am a feminist’.  That line sums Clickbait up very well, as Nicola has started Protest to stop herself and others feeling ashamed about sex.

With Protest the person who attends the booth and engages with the sexual activities is liberated, they are in control not the other way round from an angry partner, or rival.

Adam is a fairly weak partner, he loved Nicola and could not face up to her reality, although he stood by her in her business plans, it was a complete role reversal for him; where the women were strong and liked the business of the porn industry.  The youngest sister Chloe was gung-ho and stepped outside a safe domain, where she was a child and wanted to become more involved than the adults. This brings its own dangers from the child sex industries and the risks to vulnerable children.

The sign reads in their business premises ‘no judgment’: this is a powerful sign, the words have many different meanings, no judgment of me, of others, how can people judge how do they have the right to judge?

This in many ways is the context of the play, women are judged every day, hence why Nicola mentioned she was a feminist, why would she have to say that if she wasn’t being judged.

Clickbait is a play that liberates, it is fun and serious it doesn’t hold back. It is a raw journey through the sex industries, and is a very enjoyable play, well acted and well written, I would suggest you go and see it

Clickbait is being shown from the 22nd January 2016 to the 17th Feb 2016 at Theatre503, Battersea London.

© Sam Rapp, 2016

Posted in female director, female playwrights, plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, Review, Uncategorized, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Milly Thomas and Clickbait

CB Holding Image © Jack Sain 2015

(c) Jack Sain

Clickbait is a new play about society’s attitude to porn and the women who make it for themselves. From the  all female writer/director team behind A First World Problem (Milly Thomas and Holly Race Roughan) comes this blistering study of how pornography is changing women’s relationship to sex in the 21st Century.

The play follows Nicola who, threatened with the release of an amateur sex video, makes a snap decision to post it online herself. What began as a drunken night in a dirty club ends with a unique business opportunity for Nicola and her two sisters as they start a network of amateur porn video booths. But where there is demand there must be supply and, as lines become blurred, public opinion begins to turn against the trio. It opens at Theatre5o3 on 19 January.

In advance of the play’s opening, Sam Rapp asked writer Milly Thomas to tell more about herself and the play.

SR: This is a play about women and porn. What were the inspirations to write about this particular subject matter? 

MT: The inspiration originally came from a news article I read concerning a woman who had performed a sex act on holiday. I remember being so shocked by the vitriol that came her way and then it became less about that particular news article but more about thinking about our attitudes to women and sex and the bigger questions for victims of revenge porn. ‘What do you do. How do you get on with your life? Where do you go?’ It also got me thinking about how revenge pornography is blurring the line between sex and pornography and how women fit in that particular mire of sexual politics. It also took me off on a journey of exploring what it might be like to attempt to capitalise on the porn market – the idea that one way of consolidating the thing that had happened to you might be to lean into it and see where it leads you.

SR:  Did you have any concerns about writing about women and porn as it can be a challenging subject matter?

MT: I honestly haven’t been concerned only because I feel the subject matter is hugely important. Pornography certainly can be challenging for some people, but the fact is that it’s mainstream now. Pornography is everywhere. From sexualised marketing campaigns right down to the music we listen to. And nine times out of ten it’s women who are being objectified by it. I just want to get a dialogue going. I’m not here to condemn porn just as I am not here to promote it either and my characters’ voices reflect this. I don’t have any answers or a mission statement, I’d just love to know what other people’s responses are.

SR: Did you have any hostility regarding the subject matter?

MT: None whatsoever, which is hugely encouraging.

SR: Are you looking forward to the press night?

MT: Very much so. I promised my mum I’d wear smart shoes.

SR: Are you confident the play will be well received?

MT: I’m excited to know what people make of it. I just want to make people think. One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given was ‘If you make art and the whole world loves it, you’re doing it wrong.’ This shouldn’t be interpreted as going out to deliberately provoke. I see it as sticking to your gut and standing proudly by your work.

SR: How did you envisage the way in which the characters evolve, and has there been any changes, while the rehearsal room, to how you originally perceived your characters to be played?

MT: The wonderful thing about scriptwriting in any format is that once you hand it over to a room full of actors it’s like Frankenstein’s monster and a switch is flipped and the script comes to life. It’s one of my favourite bits of the process because you can be surprised, delighted and challenged – often all at the same time. Clickbait has been no different, which delights me as then it becomes something more than some text I wrote down.

SR: How long did it take to write this play? 

MT: I had the idea almost a year ago and scribbled it down in a first draft. It’s been on a huge journey since then.

SR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, how did you start?

MT: I work full time as an actor/writer. Until a few years ago only ever wanted to act. I went to drama school and graduated a year and a half ago. It was only while I was there, when it became my 9 to 5, that I realised that I needed more than being an actor. I love telling stories. Being an actor you get to tell stories for a living, but being a writer you get to create your own. British playwrighting is in such an explosive place and I wanted to add my voice. So I wrote a handful of short plays and entered them into competitions and won some, which encouraged me to keep going. I then wrote my first full-length play called A First World Problem which was picked up by Theatre503 the summer I graduated. It taught me a lot and, more importantly, I had a lot of fun. So much fun that I’m back with the same creative team two years later which is really exciting.

SR: How and when do you write? 

MT: I try to keep to office hours as much as possible, especially when I’m not acting. Against my better judgement, I do work quote well in the wee hours, but you can’t work at all without sleep. I try and write every day. Sometime I need to go for a walk and put some headphones in and think about what it is I need to say. Sometimes it tumbles out before I know it’s there. Every play is different.

SR: Are you working on anything else at the moment?

MT: I’m currently writing an episode of a new BBC3 series that will air in 2017, which is a totally different process but just as thrilling. I also start the Channel 4 Screenwriting course this year which I’m very much looking forward to.

As for theatre, I have some ideas that I’m sketching out right now in the back of my head. Soon enough one of them will shout louder than all the others and the process will start all over again.

ClickBait can be seen at Theatre503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW from Tuesday 19 January – Saturday 13 February 2016 (Tuesday to Saturday, 7.45pm, Sunday, 5pm)

Posted in plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, plays to see, q + a | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment