Four Questions With REP Foundry Artist, Patrick Russell
With this year's REP Foundry scheme underway we meet writer, Patrick Russell
What made you first want to write plays?
It was a combination of my family and two bits of luck. I was lucky to be taken to the theatre as a child and then I started to enjoy acting at school. I'd always enjoyed writing short stories and poetry but I'd not really thought about writing plays, until I was reading a Hull Truck programme which advertised a playwriting competition. I realised I really loved writing dialogue and that was that.
What excites you most about being a REP Foundry artist?
I think from our first meet and greet, it's probably the people. It's great to be in something that's for writers, theatre makers and directors, because scripts need directing and directors need scripts, and on devised work or even verbatim pieces I think a script-friendly human is always useful so I'm really looking forward to collaborating with the other artists.
If you could collaborate with anyone (past or present) who would it be, and why?
So many people told me to read Caryl Churchill's plays for a long time, and other playwrights that I admire like Nick Payne also cite her as a big influence, and recently I've blitzed through most of her work and it's incredibly exciting. So working with her would be brilliant. Her scriptwriting is the most playful I've read, and though classic forms and genres are classic for a reason, I think her ability to innovate and evolve the idea of what can be put on stage is unlike any other writer.
Who or what in theatre inspires you most?
Alan Bennett's kindness with people is something I always try and remember when writing. Regardless of experimentation with form or language I think working with an understanding of people is essential in theatre. Of playwrights that were true observers of people, Alan Bennett always came across, to me anyway, as someone who was fair and thoughtful with the people he wrote about. I think you have to be kind, always, even with your villains.