50 episodes

Some of the world's leading playwrights talk about their lives, their work, and their relationships with the Royal Court. Guests include Jez Butterworth, April de Angelis, Rachel De-lahey, Tanika Gupta, David Hare, Robert Holman, Dennis Kelly, Alistair McDowall, Anthony Neilson, Joe Penhall, Lucy Prebble, Anya Reiss, Polly Stenham and Enda Walsh.

Royal Court Playwright's Podcast Royal Court

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 107 Ratings

Some of the world's leading playwrights talk about their lives, their work, and their relationships with the Royal Court. Guests include Jez Butterworth, April de Angelis, Rachel De-lahey, Tanika Gupta, David Hare, Robert Holman, Dennis Kelly, Alistair McDowall, Anthony Neilson, Joe Penhall, Lucy Prebble, Anya Reiss, Polly Stenham and Enda Walsh.

    S6 Ep4: Caro Black Tam talks to Omar Elerian

    S6 Ep4: Caro Black Tam talks to Omar Elerian

    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
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    To listen on Spotify click here.
    This conversation has been transcribed and can be accessed here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts/playwrights-podcast-transcript-of-series-6-episode-4-caro-black-tam-talks-to-omar-elerian/
    Full introduction by Omar Elerian:
    Caro is a Bachelor of Psychology with experience in social research in public policies. They have worked in the formulation, development and monitoring of social investment projects, as well as in the publication of academic studies and a complementary training in neuroscience. As a playwright, their plays include “Asfixia” and “Tomás”. Their television work includes writing programs on health, lifestyle and gastronomy. They have been a resident at the Royal Court’s International Playwrights’ Programme and have taken part in their Long-Form Writing Group. Currently, they work as a Strategic Planner at Wunderman Thompson. They spend lots of time taking photos. 

    • 55 min
    S6 Ep3: Nazareth Hassan talks to Omar Elerian

    S6 Ep3: Nazareth Hassan talks to Omar Elerian

    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
    To subscribe via iTunes click here.
    To listen on Spotify click here.
    This conversation has been transcribed and can be accessed here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts/playwrights-podcast-transcript-of-series-6-episode-3-nazareth-hassan-talks-to-omar-elerian/
    Full introduction by Omar Elerian:
    So, today I’m with Nazareth Hassan. Nazareth Hassan is an interdisciplinary artist working in writing, performance, music, sound, video & photography based in Brooklyn, New York. His performance score ‘Untitled (1–5)’ was performed at The Shed this past June and is being published this Spring. He has just sound designed the play ‘A song of songs’ by Agnes Borinsky at the Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn, and he has released 3 singles since 2021. 

    • 1 hr 1 min
    S6 Ep2: Pablo Manzi talks to Omar Elerian

    S6 Ep2: Pablo Manzi talks to Omar Elerian

    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
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    To listen on Spotify click here.
    This conversation has been transcribed and can be accessed here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts/playwrights-podcast-transcript-of-series-6-episode-2-pablo-manzi-talks-to-omar-elerian/
    Full introduction by Omar Elerian:
    Pablo Manzi has developed most of his work as a playwright with the Chile-based collective BONOBO with whom he has written the plays ‘Amansadura’, ‘Where the Barbarians Live’ and ‘You Shall Love’. His texts have been presented in festivals in Japan, Italy, The Netherlands, Peru, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, the USA, Sweden and Chile. He was invited by the Royal Court theatre and the British Council to do a residency in London where he wrote ‘A Fight Against…’/‘Una Lucha Contra…’ directed by Sam Pritchard. Currently he is developing ‘Temis’, his latest project with BONOBO. 

    • 55 min
    S6 Ep1: Amir Gudarzi talks to Omar Elerian

    S6 Ep1: Amir Gudarzi talks to Omar Elerian

    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
    To listen on Apple Podcasts click here.
    To listen on Spotify click here.
    This conversation has been transcribed and can be accessed here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts/playwrights-podcast-transcript-of-series-6-episode-1-amir-gudarzi-talks-to-omar-elerian/
    Full introduction by Omar Elerian:
    Hi my name is Omar Elerian and I’m a freelance theatre maker & director of Italian Palestinian heritage based in Milan. For many years I’ve had the privilege of working in many different countries including the UK, where I worked for seven years as Associate Director at London’s Bush theatre. I work mainly on new plays and new work created by emerging & diverse artists, which is why I’m excited to host this series of conversations with international playwrights for the Royal Court. 
    The International Playwrights’ Programme at the Royal Court builds and develops the theatre’s relationships with writers from around the world. Forming long-term partnerships with theatre makers and organisations from different traditions, working in different languages and cultural contexts. They do this through long-term writers’ groups, residencies, exchange projects and productions of work by international artists. The Programme also seeks to support the practice of theatre in translation through working with translators at different stages of their career. 
    All of the writers featured in this series have engaged with the Programme in different ways across the last 18 months.  
    I hope you will enjoy listening & discovering the work of these extraordinary artists who come from the broadest range of backgrounds and approaches, in a testament to our unflinching need to connect with one another, and expand our experience of what theatre is & can be from different vantage points. 
    It is my pleasure to introduce you to the first writer of our series of podcasts. 
    Amir Gudarzi is a writer born in Tehran, Iran, in 1986. He graduated at the only school for theatre the country had at that time. Due to censorship his plays were only shown in private circles. And since 2009, Amir has lived in involuntary exile in Vienna, Austria. In 2017, he won the exil-DramatikerInnenpreis for his play ‘Between Us and Them Lies…’ In 2018, his play ‘Arash, the Returnee’ premiered under the title ‘Arash//Heimkehrer’ in Vienna and his play ‘The Knowledge Tree’ was shown in Jerusalem. In 2019, his play ‘The Assassin’s Castle’ was invited to the Berlin Stückemarkt, and in 2020 the play ‘Jelly Man – The Future in between my Fingers’ premiered in Vienna. In 2022 his play ‘Wonderwomb’ won the Kleist Prize for playwriting. Amir now lives in Vienna and is working on his debut novel. 

    • 57 min
    Dutch Singer-Songwriter, Performer & Composer Wende talks to Simon Stephens

    Dutch Singer-Songwriter, Performer & Composer Wende talks to Simon Stephens

    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to book tickets for The Song Project (Aug 17- 28 Aug).
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
    To subscribe via iTunes click here.
    To listen on Spotify click here.
    To read the transcript of this episode, click here.
    Full introduction by Simon Stephens:
    It’s one of the anomalies of the United Kingdom’s position as an island nation that not only does it seem to me to assume that every other country in the world is spending most of its time looking on with fascination at what is happening here but it rarely pays any attention to what is happening anywhere else. There are few arenas where this is more clear than in the performing arts.
    Throughout the past twenty years the ignorance that British theatre makers have for theatre that is being made throughout the world or that British playwrights have for what is happening in international playwriting has struck me again and again. It reminds me of British attitude to food in the 70s or to football in the 80s. It’s not real theatre. It’s weird foreign muck.
    In recent years I have become aware that the same applies to music. The artist who brought the myopic nature of the British musical world most clearly to my awareness is the startling Dutch singer, songwriter, performer and composer Wende Snijders.
    I’d never heard of Wende, as she is publicly known, when I started writing a series of songs with her and for her to perform in the last years of the last decade. The extent of her status, the level of her success was unknown to me. For twenty years Wende has been one of the most celebrated singers and performers in the whole of Europe.
    She released her first album in 2004 as a graduate from the Amsterdam Theatre School. A collection of celebrated French Chansons supported by the Metropole Orchestra. The following seventeen years have seen her release nine more albums and tour the continent to sell out audiences. She has sold out runs at Amsterdam’s astonishing Carré theatre. She has plundered the European songbook with force and drama and brilliance. She has released haunting electronica. She has performed a compelling version of Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise.
    Her voice is graced with a haunting soul and yearning. It evokes Kate Bush to me or PJ Harvey or Róisín Murphy or Courtney Barnett but is also touched with a more historical legacy. By the spirit of Édith Piaf, perhaps of Lotte Lenya.
    In 2019 she debuted a remarkable exploration of the form of songwriting in the Royal Court theatre upstairs. In a piece of work that she co-conceived with Designer and Royal Court Associate Chloe Lamford she gave the first iteration of The Song Project. Working with playwrights E.V. Crowe, Sabrina Mahfouz, Somalia Nonyé Seaton, Stef Smith and Debris Stevenson and in collaboration with composer Isobel Waller-Bridge and choreographer Imogen Knight, Wende explored the possibility that there are some ideas that couldn’t be dramatised, that couldn’t be articulated in speech or dialogue but that could, in fact, only be sung.
    It was a visceral, forceful evening. She performed The Song Project, like she performs all of her work, with a startling tenderness and savagery and wit. She is a creature of the theatre in her metabolism as much as her training and she brings that theatricality to every moment of her work. The evening is a celebration of light over darkness, of hope over fear of the mess and beauty of the human body. It sings with feminism and physicality. It’s coming back to the Theatre Downstairs this summer of 2021.
    It is a real pleasure to welcome her here on this special one off episode of the Royal Court Playwright’s podcast.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    S5 Ep5: Ta-Nia (aka Talia Paulette Oliveras & Nia Farrell) talk to Simon Stephens

    S5 Ep5: Ta-Nia (aka Talia Paulette Oliveras & Nia Farrell) talk to Simon Stephens

    Series 5 of the Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast was released in partnership with Berliner Theatertreffen Stückemarkt.
    The following content may contain strong language.
    Click here to return to the main podcast page.
    To subscribe via iTunes click here.
    To listen on Spotify click here.
    This conversation has been transcribed and can be accessed here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/podcasts/playwrights-podcast-transcript-of-series-5-episode-5-ta-nia-aka-talia-paulette-oliveras-nia-farrell-talk-to-simon-stephens/
    You can watch a livestreamed performance of Ta-Nia’s (aka Talia Paulette Oliveras & Nia Farrell) Dreams in Blk Major here: https://digital.berlinerfestspiele.de/stueckemarkt/dreams-in-blk-major
    All readings/recordings will be available for 24 hours for the 18 May.
    Full introduction by Simon Stephens:
    The presence of academia in theatre making in the United States has a status that is, I think, more pronounced or established than it seems to me to be in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. In many US cities the theatre is housed within the university. The artists and audience are often academics or students. In New York, that complex heart of the country’s theatrical history, Columbia and NYU in particular provide the art form with a constant pulse of new life. Theatre in the US seems born out of a synthesis between the theoretical rigour and interrogations of its universities counterpointed with the energy and drive of the marketplace, as most famously typified in the theatre houses of Broadway.
    The theatre making duo made up of director Talia Paulette Oliveras and writer Nia Farrell, collectively known as TaNia, both typify this position and obliterate every last archetype it might suggest. They met while studying experimental and collaborative theatre making at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The power of their theoretical rigour and the incision of their thought as a means of critiquing power was maybe developed at NYU, but there is no arid or academic crust to the work that TaNia first developed there: the visceral, playful, humane, angry, Afrofuturist theatre event Dreams in Blk Major. First staged at Tisch in 2019 it transferred to the National Black Theatre in Harlem in the same year, and then the ANT Fest, the all new talent festival at the celebrated Ars Nova Theatre. In 2020/21 it was chosen by jurors to visit the Stückemarkt at the Theatertreffen.
    It is a source of some regret to me to not be able to make it to Berlin to see any of the five shows chosen for the Stückemarkt in real life. But I can’t help feeling that it is a particular shame to not be in the same room as Dreams in Blk Major as it is played out there. Farrell’s text is sensuous and poetic. It explodes the conventions of linear narrative to create a text that is built on ritual more than it is on a dramatic arc. It describes itself as a celebration in five movements. Reading the text on the page, the energy of that celebration alone is infectious. Infused by the magic and dignity of music and art, it combines jazz and cookery, reinvents a school curriculum with unapologetic glory, reimagines BuzzFeed questionnaires and makes a theatrical intervention that encourages the audience to engage in a consideration of their own identities and incumbent histories. It draws from a past of centuries and imagines a new future, but invites a ritual that is necessarily defined by its present tenseness, asking its actors to really talk and really listen to one another, inviting its audience to really dance and the food that ends the piece to really be made, and to taste – I imagine – fucking fantastic! If this is a piece born out of a nuanced and complex theoretical understanding, it is also one of the most joyous and celebratory pieces of theatre I have imagined all year.

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
107 Ratings

107 Ratings

Bend it like Beckett ,

Entertaining, Informative, Inspiring.

This podcast is a joy to listen to. I learn about new writers and plays every episode, and hearing the origin stories of so many great writers is hugely inspiring. Most importantly though, listening immediately fills me with the fire to sit down and write write write! Please keep this magnificent series going!!!

Morgylondon ,

Love it.

Brilliant podcast.

Garage games ,

I am not affiliated with Simon Stephens in any way

I mainly like Andy McDowell

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