GETTING TO KNOW ELLA HICKSONWed 30 May 2012
BOYS currently playing at Soho Theatre until Saturday 16 June, is the brand new play from award-winning playwright Ella Hickson (Eight, Precious Little Talent). We caught up with Ella to find out more about her inspirations, future projects and BOYS.
What first led you to playwriting?
I have always watched a lot of theatre, my mum used to take me as a kid, so I guess I became aware of it that way. My interest in writing, however, came when I was at university. I became really involved in the university theatre company, Bedlam and was already writing short stories and poems by that time. With a little encouragement from friends I decided to combine the two and wrote ‘Eight’ – my first play.
Your first plays you produced yourself at Edinburgh. Would you recommend it as a route for other playwrights?
There are benefits and pitfalls in producing your own work. It gives you a great insight into the business of theatre, it helps you understand audiences and gives you a broad understanding of theatricality. All of that, however, doesn’t necessarily lead to great plays. Commercial awareness is no use to you in the pursuit of ‘art’ in it’s highest sense; seeing a play as a product can be detrimental to the writing. Having said that – if it’s the only way to get your play on, which it was for me at the time, absolutely do it. Now more than ever people need to be masters of their own making, if you wait for a leg-up it may never come.
Can you tell us a bit more about BOYS and its journey to the stage?
I first wrote ‘Boys’ in the winter of 2010 so it’s been a relatively long journey. It was my first attempt at a ‘big’ play which meant the first draft was hugely long and full of a lot of heart. Getting it from page to stage has taken a lot of work in terms of structure, pace and dramatic action. Rob and I have really beaten it into shape but it’s been a hugely enjoyable and educative process and I think the rigour of the process shows, which I find very satisfying – it may not all be right but we’ve certainly thought long and hard about every detail.
What’s inspiring you creatively at the moment?
I’ve been interested in formal experimentation for a while – looking at how to involve lyricism in plays that are naturalistic or rigorously dramatic, so I’ve been reading a lot poetry and talking to poets; it’s exciting.
What’s up next?
I’m working on a new version of Peter Pan written from Wendy’s perspective which is a hoot. After that I’m working with the brilliant Scottish company GridIron on a formally experimental piece about memory. The show is due to open this Autumn in Scotland – it will be great to go back up for a bit. I might have a drink first though…or quite a few.< Back to List