How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?
I’m a playwright, dramaturg and sometimes, rarely now, performer. As a playwright I love the first read through in the rehearsal room, when the play is brought to life. As a dramaturg I enjoy it when something I say helps an artist to see their own work in a new light.
What do you consider your best work and why?
That’s a hard one. I am thoroughly, sometimes stupidly, hard on myself. I’m proud of my play Futureproof. I took on a big play, big subjects and a family of complex characters. It’s undoubtedly me.
What was your first ever job?
My mum was a child-minder in our home so my first ever job was probably helping her after school. As a student I funded trips to Edinburgh every August by selling horrible faux-Celtic jewellery to American tourists in my home town of Cork.
What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?
I suppose it was moving to Scotland which wasn’t because of a contact or a job but was really a just a leap of faith. It was scary as I had a significant chunk of professional experience behind me in Ireland but quickly realised that I would have to prove myself all over again. I might get homesick from time to time but I’ve never regretted that move.
What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t?
I don’t really think that way. I’m a “whatever’s for you won’t go by you” kind of person and don’t tend to look back. I do wish I could write faster! I’d like to have the skills I have now combined with the chutzpah and energy I had when I was twenty-two. I’m working on it.
What’s your favourite theatre production?
I’m sorry but it has to be three: Fabulous Beast’s dance theatre production of Giselle, Robert Wilson’s Woyzeck with the music of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, and a beautiful piece by Corn Exchange, written by Michael West, called Freefall that felt like it was written from and for me. I cried so hard the person sitting beside me held my hand.
What do you like the best about working in theatre?
Audiences. When it’s good, I love the live experience of being in them and I love writing for them.
What do you like the best about being a writer?
Making connections between things. Seeing patterns. I think that’s what my brain does best.
What advice would you give emerging female practitioners in theatre today?
Be fearless. Knock on people’s doors. Don’t apologise all the time. Make the things you want to see.
Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
That’s easy. My mother is sixty this month. She is an extraordinary woman who has overcome great loss and injustice but has somehow managed to remain warm and loving. Happy Birthday, Mary Radley!