Heather Jeffery Q and A

Heather with cast member Joey Bartram (Sam Mellish Photography)

Heather with cast member Joey Bartram (Sam Mellish Photography)

Heather Jeffery’s play FACE TO FACE is at the Drayton Arms Theatre from tomorrow. We asked her some questions about writing… 

What first drove you to write?
I have a very vivid imagination, so stories are coming to me all the time. It seemed natural to put them on paper.

How and when do you write?
I have a laptop on my desk under a window which gives me a view of a copse of trees. I write for several hours a day, often finishing late afternoon. I do sometimes write during the night if I cannot sleep and my mind starts bringing ideas that seem important to record. Usually when I read it the following day it goes in the bin!

Who inspires you and how?
I am inspired by women who have achieved amazing things or have lived through incredible traumas. I am always so surprised by them, mainly because woman’s stories are not being told often enough and as a result it is easy to underestimate them. Reading about these women encourages and motivates me to be more ambitious.

Do you only write plays? Or do you write other things?
At the moment I largely write plays but I also get involved in marketing, blogs, reviews and forums. They are all creative and require different approaches which I find very satisfying. I would like to write novels and film/television/radio scripts but for the moment I am happy to concentrate on fully realising my potential as a playwright.

What advice would you give to other writers?
Each form of writing has its own disciplines; they are crafts which can be learnt. However originality cannot be taught, so do not be afraid to experiment with whatever you feel you have to offer. There are so many platforms for your writing and finding the right one is a great place to start and then keep working at it.

Are you working on anything right now?
I am busy with my current play FACE TO FACE which is being performed at Drayton Arms Theatre in South Kensington 28 April to 23 May. I have been involved in the rehearsal process, mainly making edits and joining in the discussions about back story and subtext. I will continue to be involved in this way during the run as we expect to make small changes to keep the actors responsive to changes which will help them to keep the characters alive. The artwork exhibited in the FACE TO FACE set was kindly lent to us by the artist Hardijs Gruduls.

Tell us about FACE TO FACE and the process of developing the play
As a writer I am most interested in changes in society and the way we live our lives now. I was intrigued by all the press coverage about problems of isolation in big cities. This raised a number of questions such as how far did social media fill the gap and what would be the effects over a period of time. These would be my themes but to find the story I preferred to take my inspiration from specific sites. It really began to emerge when I visited a studio which had belonged to Bossanyi, a stained glass artist who came to England as an immigrant escaping persecution. It seemed really pertinent that society is so mobile and that people often settle in places far from their community and families. These thoughts gradually led to a story about an artist who had been involved in an accident which resulted in her living in her studio separated from her family and friends. We meet her at the point of crisis when the three other characters have become emotionally trapped, unable to move forward until her problem is resolved.
Niall Phillips directs FACE TO FACE at the Drayton Arms Theatre
28 April to 23 May,  Tickets £15/12
Rachel, a young female artist recovering from a serious injury, develops a relationship with her sitter. Their shared exploration of deeper themes of artistic endeavour is shattered by the arrival of Shaun, who drives a wedge of distrust between them. Is Rachel’s growing belief in a dangerous conspiracy a product of her overactive imagination or a very real threat?

About 17Percent

A campaign to get more plays by women playwrights onto UK stages.
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