25 April 2018

Playwright Simon Stephens speaks on ‘Why Theatre?’ Friday 20 April, Sackville Theatre

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With the promise of ‘an unconventional question and answer session’, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this lecture, however, Simon Stephens’s conversational style of presentation could not have been more interesting.

Discussing everything from writing for the theatre, to what biscuit most represents his personality, Mr Stephens covered a range of topics that followed the flow of the audience. It was interesting to learn about his inspirations and tips for writing plays, particularly the emphasis placed on the importance of reading widely (a play a day!) and never fearing rejection.

It was a talk that inspired, enhanced, and cultivated the audience’s passion for theatre – Simon thrived off the questions of the audience and was happy to share his opinions on anything that was asked. Namely, he was asked about his opinions on drama school, to which he answered that the ‘good ones are wonderful and beautiful places of creativity and output’.

Simon Stephens opened up the audience’s minds to so many things: I had never considered the etymology of the word playwright – which actually means ‘to craft a play’ – or heard a playwright’s point of view on creative directorial decisions that others had made about their plays; thankfully, there was only one instance that came to his mind! The alternative nature of his discussion left us recognising the importance of theatre and art in our day, age and political climate, while simultaneously leaving us with all sorts of thought-provoking things to consider…

Ben Colley, Lower Sixth

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