Chino Odimba - Writer on Attachment 2013

So, you're writer on attachment, what has that meant for you and your practice?

Being a writer in attachment at BOV has really allowed me to get a more rounded perspective of the theatre world. Being able to see the daily activities of this building, and occasional hearing the weird and wonderful sound effects coming from rehearsals has been very inspiring to my current project. As a writer it has been a huge step for me in my journey of identifying as a writer, and feeling supported in that.

Who have been the main inspirations for your writing career so far?

I am inspired by the work of so many writers but my list would definitely feature writers such as Caryl Churchill, Debbie Tucker Green, Chinua Achebe, Dario Fo, Angela Carter, Joe Orton, Anton Chekov, Shelagh Delaney and Roy Williams. I am also always looking to poetry for inspiration and the work of poets such as Lemn Sissay, Warsan Shire, and Grace Nichols are current favourites. In my writing playing and diving in the world of language is still something that holds a great deal of fascination. Our ability to be both completely defined by language, and be able to transcend it in equal measure is a big idea that I never seem to get bored of peering at.

How did you start your playwriting career?

The first play I ever wrote was here at the Bristol Old Vic through a series of workshops by Winsome Pinnock. I will always be grateful for her kindness, her guidance and for convincing me that a young Black woman could be a playwright! This building certainly tells my story as a writer in some ways.

What have been the five major lessons you've learned so far in being a writer for theatre?

Get it written. Then get it right. ( a take on something Roy Williams said once - I think!)
It is a space to play - people have an idea that theatre has to be a particular thing, when in fact it can be anything you want it to be.
The more you know what drives your work, the easier it is to say yes to the right projects. Not every theatre/project is right for you as a writer.
Read plays.
Rewriting is a skill all of it's own!

You can make a show anywhere in the world and work with any director and actors. Where would that be, who would they be?

Oh dear! That's almost impossible but I reckon I would love Kwame Kwei Armah to direct one of my plays (in my dreams!!). I want to write a play dedicated to Christopher Okigbo and his poetry, performed by children whose lives have been torn apart by war - everywhere/anywhere in the world. If Chiwetel Ejiofor wanted to be in it I wouldn't say no. Also having worked with Sharon Duncan Brewster earlier this year, I would happily work with her again. She is a true professional.

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