Thursday, March 27, 2014

"I was a foppish butterfly" -- An Interview with playwright Lily Bevan, UK

Can you tell me a story from your childhood that influenced the person and/or playwright you are today?

I played an insect in a local community Opera for children (W11 Opera London). I was a foppish butterfly advising a butterfly Queen about the fate of two grasshopper lovers who were fighting against an army of fascist ants. My friend Tristan was a wisecracking cockney beetle. We performed in a church, a cast of 100 kids aged 8-18 from all different schools. It was so colourful, bizarre, loud & ambitious. And I never felt happier. That feeling of being enfolded together in a ridiculous, bold production - full of passion, that's the place for me.

If you can have a drink with any dramatist (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Lawks. Has to be Shakespeare doesn't it. He knows more of what it's all about than anyone who's ever lived. Worth a pint of cider.

Why is theater important to you?

Theatre is a group of people standing in front of another group of people pretending to be another group of people to try to make someone go - 'yes, I've felt that' and not feel so terribly alone. That's important.

What advice do you have for new playwrights?

Show your work to people. Friends, family, editors, theatres, whoever - and get feedback. It's easy to get all rolled up in it on your own. Roll it out & get the others walking around on it, you'll see what it looks like much more quickly.

Lily Bevan (UK) attended Jesus College, Cambridge and trained at RADA. Acting credits include: A Voyage Round My Father (Donmar Warehouse), Kindertransport (Shared Experience, Hampstead, National Tour), The Miser and The Hypochondriac (Belgrade, Coventry), An Evening With John Mortimer (National Tour), “Dr Who” (BBC), “Rumpole of The Bailey” (BBC Radio). Lily co-wrote the sell-out Christmas show Stephen and The Sexy Partridge (Trafalgar Studios) and her own plays include Avocado (King’s Head), A Stab In The Dark (Latitude), Café Red (Trafalgar Studios) and People of The Town (RADA). Directing includes: The Death of All Elephant Elders at the Finborough (Nominated Best Director, Off West End). Lily attended the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and studied screenwriting at NYU, New York. She is currently developing a new British screenplay with writer/actress Emma Thompson and a television project with Leftbank Pictures. Lily is part of the Bush Theatre/Kudos initiative and was shortlisted for the Funny Women Awards, 2013. Lily Bevan c/o She can be contacted on twitter @lilybevan, and through her website

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