17th October 2017
I Can Be... a Playwright
I can be meets phoebe eclair-powell, playwright
Have you always wanted to be a playwright?
No, not at all. I knew I was interested in art and drama at school and wanted to act or direct, or do something that combined the two. I worked in comedy for a while and then considered a career in TV. I wrote a play in my spare time and just fell in love with it all.
What is the best thing about being a playwright?
A lot of the time being a playwright is rather lonely and nerve-wracking, but if you love the play you're writing there's nothing better than that feeling of all these ideas bursting out of you, so it can be incredibly exciting. I also love being in rehearsals when you get to play with the rest of the team.
What advice would you give to a girl who was thinking about getting into the industry?
I would tell them to really explore what it is that makes the theatre industry intriguing and exciting to them as a whole. Always write down any idea that comes into your head. Keep reading books and stories, see lots of plays and try to get involved in any way possible - youth theatre, helping build sets, ushering at their local theatre etc - that's what I did!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I won an award - the Soho Young Writer's award, as well as a Channel 4 playwright award, which meant I got a bit of money. The money let me focus on writing plays full time, which was amazing and I was insanely grateful!
Has being a woman affected your career at all?
I really hope not, but I do worry about the future. I worry that I am not trusted with big commissions like some of my male counterparts. I think some people in the Industry find it harder to 'take a risk on a woman', which is very unfair, lazy and short-sighted of them.
I also look much younger than I am and so find it hard to be taken seriously in general. I used to work as a Duty Manager in a theatre venue and wasn't always successful at demanding authority! I also worry about what happens when/if I hopefully have a kid - but I know lots of brilliant playwrights who have made it work marvellously - so it's all to play for.
What do you have for lunch at work?
I am obsessed with egg sandwiches - I just really really love them...
How do you get to work?
I work from home - Hooray! Although I actually spend a lot of time running around town going to meetings, or I work in cafes or my mum's house. I like busses best as you can overhear people's conversations and steal ideas from them.
If you weren't a playwright, what would you have been?
I don't think I would have passed all the exams required, but I would love to be a doctor. But maybe that's just because I love a medical drama...
What are your aspirations for the future?
I really hope and aspire to become an even better writer, who gets to play with even bigger creative teams on exciting shows, both on stage and hopefully on the telly as well. I hope I get to keep doing this as my job, because I really love it and I'm not sure I would feel as happy doing anything else.