From the Archive: BushGreen meets Alice Birch

What plays should we be reading, putting on and going to see?

Everything and anything you can get your hands on.  Read and see whatever you can until your eyes hurt and put on whatever gives you goosebumps, whatever surprises you – whatever you think could never be anything other than a play.

In terms of my own personal taste, I think everyone should be reading a bit of Eugene O’Neill for the sheer audacity, Sarah Kane because she’s nearly always misunderstood and misrepresented and Enda Walsh because he’s a theatrical Wizard. Writers whose work I always love watching: Penelope Skinner, Martin McDonagh, Marina Carr, David Eldridge, Dennis Kelly, David Harrower and Simon Stephens.

What are your career highlights so far?

Having my play, MANY MOONS on at Theatre 503 has been a bit of a dream. I’ve worked with the most generous and ridiculously talented people who have moved the play onto a place I hadn’t imagined. That’s been incredibly exciting.

Being on attachment to the National last year was incredibly exciting – I wasn’t remotely cool about the process at all – if I could have worn National emblazoned badges and hats I would have done. Most recently I’ve had the chance to write collaboratively with Nick Payne, Ella Hickson and Ben Ockrent – three of the most exciting writers I’ve had the pleasure to meet. That’s been a whole bag of fun.

Who is the greatest influence on your career?

That’s difficult – there are an awful lot of people. Other writers have probably been the biggest influence. There is a big stack of plays on my bookshelf, a few footsteps away from where I write, and I don’t get far without picking one or two up. My secondary school English teacher was a huge influence in terms of me beginning to write seriously.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen at the theatre?

THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM at The Traverse by Enda Walsh blew my head off. Simon Stephens’ SEA WALL broke my heart a little bit and AFTER THE END by Dennis Kelly made it beat. Penelope Skinner’s FUCKED was pretty glorious too.

Alice Birch graduated from Exeter University in 2009. She was a member of the Royal Court Introductory and Invitation courses, and took part in a Royal Court / BBC writing scheme. She has since written for Paines Plough’s COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, for PLAYlist and AURICULAR at Theatre 503, for 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic, the Miniaturists at the Arcola and for nabakov. In Spring 2011 she collaborated with Ella Hickson, Ben Ockrent and Nick Payne, writing the final year pieces for Rose Bruford drama students. Alice’s first full length play, MANY MOONS, debuted at Theatre 503.

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