Katherine Chandler - writer of Before it Rains

How long have you been writing plays?

I've been writing scribbles and stories probably since I was about eight or nine. I used to make up comic books and short stories. I began writing ‘proper' plays about six years ago.

What made you want to write them in the first place?

I started working in The Sherman Theatre admin department when I was eighteen and was encouraged to see all the work we produced and received. I'm not from a family that goes to the Theatre ever, so it was all new to me. At that time there were a lot of plays being produced by writers such as Willy Russell, John Godber, Jim Cartwright. Work that was accessible and theatrical and a perfect introduction to theatre for someone like me. I fell in love with it.

When was your first play and how did it come about?

I was working as Stage Manager for Theatr Nan'Og and had been chatting about writing with the Artistic Director. She said she would like to see something I'd written so I wrote her a few sketches and she asked if I'd be interested in writing a comedy for her. I did and it went on to be produced and toured in 2009.

Is where you live important to your work?

Yes. I think every part of my life contributes to my work.

When you are writing what does your day look like?

I'm a daytime writer. As yet I can't write past about four o'clock. I glaze over. But I do force myself to sit and write generally between the hours of 9 and 3. I'm an under writer so am always struggling to make a page count. I know some writers are able to churn it out and then have to cut loads of stuff. I wish I was able to do that but I'm the opposite.

During the last year which piece of work that you have seen has been inspiration?

Little Dogs, Frantic Assembly and National Theatre Wales. I loved it. It was theatrical, accessible and deliciously dirty. My jaw dropped and stayed open for the whole performance. I think Frantic Assembly are verging on genius.

If you could have dinner with three other writers, living or dead, who would they be?

Alan Sillitoe A writer who just ‘got' people and wrote about the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Shelagh Delaney. Its hard enough now for working class women in theatre - back then it must have been near enough impossible. I'd like to talk to her about that. I've just read three Ibsen plays back to back so I have some questions for him.

There is a notorious statistic that only 17% of published playwrights are women. Why do you think this is?

We need to debate the issue of inequality within all aspects of producing theatre. The current debates about lack of women's roles are a positive step forward in tackling some of the problems. We should all be looking at how we can be proactive in challenging inequalities. I've rethought the gender of the characters in a play I'm writing at the moment as a direct result of Stella Duffy's blog.

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