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Omniwrite Exclusive! Q & A with… Fiona Whitelaw

By November 18, 2015No Comments

Fiona Whitelaw is the author of “Tinned Goods”, one of three specially crafted pieces for this season’s Omniwrite.

Fiona’s theatre productions include, Theatre Royal Stratford, ‘Acceptable Damage for Angelic Tales’ and ‘Chosen’ for Home Theatre UK, ‘The Copenhagen Interpretation’ – Tiny Shows Omnibus Clapham, GLYPT, Jackdaw, Teatro Vivo, Lumenis (London Tour: Southwark Playhouse, Old Red Lion, Camden People’s Theatre), Tristan Bates Theatre, Central & Cecil, Sydenham Arts Festival and WOW Festival at The Southbank Centre.

Fiona’s work as a writer covers a range of genres. She has scripted devised work for a number of companies, written Theatre In Education plays, Forum Theatre for the elderly community in Care Homes and Sheltered Housing and Site Specific work.

Could you give us a brief summary of your play?

Tinned Goods follows the friendship of Sue and Rachel lifelong friends whose relationship has been torn apart by being on opposite sides of miners strike of 84/85.

Chorus sections of the play map the journey of Women Against Pit Closures and the life changing affect of direct activism on the lives and families of women across the UK at that time.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote the original scenes as a commission from a housing charity for a historical forum theatre project. As I researched I became more galvanised by the stories of these women and the affect this dispute has had on the landscape of industrial relations and workers ability to protect their rights,  pay and conditions.

Tell us about some of the relationships in the play.

Female relationships are the main drivers of the action. Sue and her daughter Bethany & how the shortages of food, clothing and time affect their relationship.

Bethany and her Aunt Brenda who is both a force behind the campaign and the person the teenager turns to for advice.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a regular routine?

Each of the plays or screenplays I write is approached differently from the point of view of whether it requires research or has other emotional/theme drivers of plot.  I always schedule specific time for redraft and editing and am disciplined about keeping to that.

Like many writers I am never without a notebook and often write down dialogue and ideas. Sometimes whole sections of a piece burst into the page in one go.

How do you see this piece of work evolving?

This play Tinned Goods is being toured nationally by midlands theatre company Tea and Tenacity in Spring 2016.

What are you hoping for from your showcase at Omnibus?

Having a preview at Omniwrite will give an excellent opportunity for other producers/venues to see my work.

Omniwrite is on Sunday 22 November at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £10 | £8 concessions

Ticket price includes a free drink and nibbles.

More information and book tickets here


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