The Student Guide to Playwriting | Winner’s Blog #3

The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winners are busy at work on their winners’ play, which will be performed on Playwriting Day at London Writers Week on 5 July and published by Oberon Books.

Inspired by the theme of the competition, the winners’ play will be on the theme of what it means to be a student in the UK today – with funding changes, a decline in student numbers studying drama, the cancellation of the A level in creative writing and a debate about EBACC and whether it should include creative subjects scheduled for July 4th in parliament, it felt like an important subject.

Here’s our third winner’s interview, this time with Miriam Battye, schools winner!

1. Can you tell us about who you are?

I’m a graduate hailing from Salford and now a theatre writer and director and currently residing in Bristol. I also make theatre work for and with children, a huge passion of mine. I also run a theatre company called Tap Tap Theatre.

2. Why did you follow the lesson plans and enter The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting?

I started writing through a playwright’s group at the Royal Exchange, and found the tutelage completely necessary for me to get anything down. As any writer will tell you, we’re always looking for new ideas and impetuses to help generate ideas and energy when writing. In more recent years I’ve abandoned methodology when I write, I just tend to just set off, but I thought it was time to try out a different approach, reminiscent of when I started writing.

3. What does winning The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting mean to you?

It’s a complete surprise and I’m just delighted someone like my weird little play.

4. The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting is about studying playwriting (via the lesson plans), why do you think studying’s important?

I want to be a really great writer, the best I possibly can be. I’ve been given sage advice to just read, read and read. It’s a foolproof way to get better. Studying is much the same thing. It’s just getting as much stuff in your head so you’ve got more thoughts to work with.

5. What do you think being a student or emerging artist in playwriting in the UK means today?

I think the most significant thing about being an artist right now is that no one particularly wants or needs you to do it, so you have to be doubley sure that you want it and also that you have something worth listening to, and if you don’t, you’ll work blinding hard to make something worth listening to. It’s a terribly arrogant thing, but you conversely have to be incredibly humble about it.

6. What do you think students and emerging artists in playwriting need?

Good ideas.

7. What are your top tips for other emerging playwrights?

No idea. I suppose, work hard and read a lot.

8. What inspires you?

All kinds of things, often other theatre work, stories I hear, telly, friends, my Mum. Sometimes when I’m angry about something bashing the keyboard with a play helps a bit. Sometimes an idea or a character will just hit me, sometimes it will be a real tooth and nail battle to form it. All I know is I feel really inspired when I see people at the top of their game doing absolutely stellar work where they really taking care of the audience they are making it for.

Many thanks and congratulations to The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winner Miriam Battye!