From the Archive: BushGreen meets Bryony Lavery

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

Reading? Going to see? The ones that teach us structure.

Putting on? The ones that lift our hearts.


Describe your first theatrical epiphany

I am about five years old.  I upend my empty egg shell, present it to my father, whereupon he receives it with utter joy, breaks into it with his spoon…only to find….with equally utter despair…it is empty!!!  He will continue to perform this until I am in my forties.   Preparation.  Suspense.  100% artistic commitment.


What are your career highlights so far?

I think it has got to be my role of Reindeer in THE SNOW QUEENAntlers, a too short too tight fur coat and American Tan tights.  Everything from there has been downhill.


Who is the greatest influence on your career?

My college teacher Edward G.Stanley, who said, “You should work in theatre.  You’re completely rubbish at Real Life…”


Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

Honestly?  Either in a cute little villa overlooking the French Riviera, or a bohemian loft in Greenwich Village…writing my scurrilous memoirs, for which I’ve been given a huge advance…


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

SNOWSHOW by Slava Polunin. A version of HEDDA GABLER by New York Theatre workshop with Liz Marvell as Hedda…




Bryony Lavery’s plays include HER ACHING HEART (Pink Paper Play Of The Year 1992),  LAST EASTER and A WEDDING STORY (2000). Her play FROZEN , commissioned by Birmingham Rep, won the TMA Best Play Award, the Eileen Anderson Central Television Award, and was produced on Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony awards.  Her Frantic Assembly piece, STOCKHOLM won the Wolff-Whiting award for Best Play of 2008.  BEAUTIFUL BURNOUT received a Fringe First last year at Edinburgh. Her extensive work for BBC Radio includes NO JOAN OF ARC (Sony nominated); VELMA AND THERESE, THE SMELL OF HIM, REQUIEM and adaptations of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET , A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA and THE LOVERS OF VIORNE for the Classic Serial, and most recently, Angela Carter’s WISE CHILDREN. Bryony is an honorary Doctor of Arts at De Montford University and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature. Other productions include SMOKE at The New Vic Theatre, Stoke-On-Trent, YIKES at The Unicorn Theatre and DEADPOINT, an aerial piece for Matilda Leyser at the Linbury Theatre,  Royal Opera House and her adaptation of Mary Webb’s PRECIOUS BANE for Pentabus Theatre Company, which toured four stately homes with a cast of eight actors, an 80-strong choir…and a live horse. Her recent work includes BEAUTIFUL BURNOUT for the National Theatre of Scotland/Frantic Assembly , KURSK WITH SOUND AND FURY at The Young Vic and on tour , THE WICKED LADY at the New Vic in Stoke, and A CHRISTMAS CAROL at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her future plans include LOST AND FOUND, a collaboration between ETT and Brink Theatre, Adelaide, SIX SEEDS for The National Theatre and an opera, 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE, with John Keane, Peter Wyer and Phyllida Lloyd.