sat 19/08/2017

First Person

Christopher Shinn: 'I did not know if I would be alive and someone wanted me to write a play'

Plays do not usually come into being in isolation. When I search my gmail archive I see that my first communication with Robert Icke about a commission came in April 2012. Rupert Goold and Rob were still at Headlong then. I was busy so asked that we...

Read more...

Emma Dibdin: 'Being scared of something is a sign you should write about it'

When I began writing my first novel four years ago, there were a few ideas that had coalesced in my mind. I knew I wanted to write a thriller about mental illness through the eyes of a young woman whose family had been defined by it; someone...

Read more...

Lisa Jewell: 'I’d never killed anyone before'

I started writing my first novel in 1995. I was 27 and I’d just come out of a dark, dark marriage to a controlling man who’d kept me more or less locked away from the world. I had no front door key, no phone, was not allowed to see my friends or my...

Read more...

'You win in the end!' Deborah Bruce introduces her play 'The House They Grew Up In'

My inspiration for The House They Grew Up In, my new play at Chichester Festival Theatre came about five years ago, in the café of an art gallery near my house. This café had a slightly intimidating air, full of its own importance, as if the art in...

Read more...

'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to...

Read more...

Matthew Dunster on adapting 'A Tale of Two Cities'

When you are adapting a novel like A Tale of Two Cities, it's a privilege to sit with a great piece of writing for a considerable amount of time. You also feel secure (and a bit cheeky) in the knowledge that another writer has already done most of...

Read more...

Eureka: novelist Anthony Quinn on completing his acclaimed trilogy

I am intrigued by those writers who plan their novels with the bristling rigour of a military strategist, drilling their characters like counters on a model battlefield. And impressed that they seem in absolute control of the direction their story...

Read more...

'The challenge is to make something of not very much': Iestyn Davies on Britten's Oberon

Tomorrow Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will begin a short run at the Snape Maltings, Suffolk in a new production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. It will mark the high point of the Aldeburgh Festival’s summer...

Read more...

A Time to Live: 'I did not want to reveal at the end who was alive or dead'

Do you ever wonder what you’d do if you were given a terminal diagnosis and told you may only have months to live? That question is what my latest film is all about. It may sound maudlin and sad but I can assure you it isn’t. And the reason for that...

Read more...

'It was probably the most effective act of resistance in the history of the Third Reich'

“I’ve got a terrible confession to make”, I said to my long-suffering partner who had been away for the weekend with our young daughter. “Oh yes,” I could see her thinking, “what have you done now?” “Well, I’ve written a play about the Nazi...

Read more...

'What did you do?' Actors reveal their Shakespearean secrets

Much of the brilliance of Shakespeare lies in the openness, or ambiguity, of his texts. Whereas a novelist will often describe a character, an action or a scene in the most minute detail, Shakespeare knew that his scenarios would only be fully...

Read more...

Fracked! Alistair Beaton on his anti-fracking satire

If you’d asked me five years ago whether I might one day write a comedy about fracking, I’d have wondered whether you were entirely in possession of your faculties. Not because fracking sounds dull and boring (although let’s be honest, it does), but...

Read more...
Subscribe to First Person