Hometown: Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England
Current Town: Yarm-on-Tees, Yorkshire, England
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I've just finished the screenplay for my own stageplay Talk about the Passion, which is in advanced development as a motion picture with a film company in London; am about to adapt my stageplay Rattlesnakes for another London film company and am currently playing around with a new stageplay. Busy times... ha ha!!
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A: I remember being at school and it wasn't particularly cool to be good at English or Maths (or any subject to be honest!) and I was praised by my English teacher for a particularly good story which I had written and she wanted to nominate me for a school merit award. Goaded by some friends, I declined, and was pulled aside by the teacher at the end of the lesson. She told me, in no uncertain terms, to stop acting like a two year old, ignore the idiots in the class and accept that I had a talent for writing and that I should embrace it. I did embrace it and I owe my teacher a huge debt of gratitude. I have never forgotten her. She believed in me!
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: Less Shakespeare, Jacobean etc etc theatre and focus on the now and the relevant. And more money.. ha ha!!
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: I've always loved American playwrights; Arthur Miller (who is name checked in Talk about the Passion), Albee, Shepard, La Bute and especially Mamet. He is the man! Exciting, visceral, challenging. American theatre is great and constantly evolving.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Relevant, modern day theatre excites me. Theatre that's not scared to go down, dark and dirty, that's not scared to let other companies produce Shakespeare and go with some lesser known, exciting new voices. There's nothing like theatre when its done well. It's so involving. When you see the spit flying, the blood spurting and the sweat dripping you are really part of something, an experience which is like no other. It's electric!
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Advice? Stick at it! Do your research. Look for companies who produce the sort of work you are writing and who interest you. Approach them, get a rapport going. And see as much theatre as you can to get the feel of it, read plays to understand the structure. Theatre is not like film, it's a totally different medium and needs to be reflected in how you set about initially writing your play. And finally, write, write, write, write, write and write! It took many years for my first production and I never gave up. Now, thankfully, I have a career because I believed in myself. Believe in yourself!
Q: Plugs, please:
A: A busy, exciting twelve months coming up. Looking forward to going to Kansas City in July to see a production of Talk about the Passion and a production of Rattlesnakes by the terrific Springs Ensemble Theatre Company in Colorado Springs. I think that's going to be a top production which I'm really looking forward to. There are a few things in incubation which are very exciting which will mean working with some really great theatre companies and top actors on both sides of the Atlantic.
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