Samuel Bailey - The Open Sessions 5 member

Why plays? Have you written in any other forms?
I think, to a certain extent, for me whether I would write a play, a short story, or for screen depends on the idea and whether it feels inherently theatrical or belongs somewhere else. I started writing plays because I was introduced to a Young Writer's course here at the Old Vic and fell in love with the form so there can be an element of tailoring ideas to fit.

What three writers would you sit around your dream dinner table?
Nick Payne would have to be one of them - simply for Constellations being one of my favourite plays of the past few years. Similarly, James Graham's This House is a fantastic piece of work and though I was lucky enough to meet him about a year ago and find out first-hand what a structural geek (his words!) he is, I'd love to quiz him further. If they don't have to be living then I would say Andrea Dunbar would be up there - I've never seen any of her plays performed but I've read a couple and since watching Clio Barnard's The Arbor I have found her fascinating. Can I say an alternative three? A table full of Irish contemporary playwrights - Frank McGuinness, Brian Friel and Martin McDonagh. Definitely those three - they were my first introduction to playwrighting.

Do you write with a strong idea of how you think the stage should look?
Again, this relates back to my experience of theatre thus far. Bristol Old Vic has had a huge effect on the visual aspect of my writing - the Studio space is easily my most visited theatre space and I can't help but write shows with it in mind.

You've just had a new idea - what do you do with it? How do you get started?
With any new idea I generally scribble a few notes on the back of my hand, then transfer it to a notebook when I realise it's slowly rubbing away and then let it sit for a while. If it's been there a week or two and I can't shake the idea then I'll return to it and start to talk about it with a few select people. If it passes this test then I'll start the initial stages of work.

Where and when do you like to write?
I write best at night. After about 9 o'clock usually. I wish I was one of those people that could write anywhere but generally if I'm not sat at a desk then my attention span wanders.

What kind of plays do you hate?
There are lots of things I find difficult about the theatre as an industry but I wouldn't say there was a 'type' of play that I don't enjoy. I've been to see plays of most genres and styles that I can think of and enjoyed some, and disliked others. I wouldn't say I hated them but I think plays that have too clear an agenda disengage me as an audience member, even if I agree with what the play is saying. I leave my seat feeling like an opportunity has been lost.

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