We are delighted to welcome Lulu Raczka to the Young Vic for a one-year attachment as part of Channel 4's Playwrights' Scheme 2020. During these twelve months, Lulu will have first-hand experience of the daily workings of our theatre and meet the variety of the theatre practitioners who are working with us, as well as writing at least one full-length play.
Get to know Lulu with these nine quickfire questions...
1. How did you get into writing, and why is theatre your medium of choice?
I started writing at university, I'd always wanted to, and being around people who were doing it all the time gave me the confidence to try. On that, I partially started writing theatre because I had so many talented friends around me, and it was a way we could play around together. I love theatre because of the liveness, at its very simplest, theatre is about a relationship between audience and performer, and that's such an exciting dynamic to explore.
2. If you hadn't become a playwright, what else would you have done?
I used to be able to make clothes, and miss doing more practical work, so maybe something with that. I, like many people, have taken up embroidery during lockdown, so we'll see where that goes.
3. What’s the best e-mail you've ever sent?
I don't think I've ever sent an exciting email...
4. Can you write anywhere, anytime, or do you have particular conditions or rituals you need before you can start writing?
In the occasional moment when I am struck with inspiration, I can write anywhere, and this will usually be on my phone on the train. But most of the time, inspiration doesn't strike, in which case I need particular conditions. Usually at home, with a Diet Coke, ideally in silence, but if that's not possible, I make playlists for each thing I'm writing, so I can listen to music.
5. Notebook or laptop?
Both! I like to plan on a notepad and write on a laptop.
6. What was the line you most struggled to cut from a play?
I love cutting. I want to cut everything. I have to be stopped. On my last show, I wanted to cut multiple scenes during tech. The director wouldn't let me.
7. What's the most important life lesson playwriting has taught you?
I think it's made me tougher. I get rejections all the time, and have for years. When I first started, I would feel terrible for a few days every time I got one, now it's a couple of hours (though some still knock me out for a while). I hope this has helped in other areas of my life... It's also taught me the brilliance of having a team - I struggle and struggle with writing something by myself, and then when it comes to mounting it, it's a team game, and everything becomes less of a struggle.
8. If you could read just one play during this quarantine period, which would you pick and why?
Angels in America - because there's enough in there to keep you entertained for weeks. Wig Out! - because along with being just such a great play, even the stage directions are so brilliant, that it makes a great reading experience. A Number - so much power hidden in such a simple premise. The Fever - very illuminating for now, but probably too depressing. Attempts on her Life - so many different styles to keep you guessing. But just one? I'd probably have to pick The Glass Menagerie. Nothing ever breaks my heart like that play, there's so much hope in it, that every time I read it I think it might have a different ending.
9. What advice would you give to any aspiring playwrights?
On a depressing note, that it's going to take a long time. Also, that it's not a very financially rewarding job, and you'll probably have to do a lot of other work, whether that be writing for other mediums, jobs that you hate to pay the bills, or another career path altogether, so be ready for that.
But in terms of actual writing advice, I don't mean to sound corny, but I would say write for yourself, write what you'd like to see. I speak to a lot of people who try and write what they think sounds like a successful play, rather than what they actually like. Saying that, it's a balance. Theatre is about connecting to people, and you are going to have to find a bunch of people to sit in a room, and pay money to watch what you write. So I think a lot of the skill comes in finding those connections, between what you're interested in, and what other people will connect to.
About the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme
Along with five other playwrights, Lulu has been selected for the 2020 Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme. This initiative awards bursaries to writers for the stage, providing them with a year-long attachment to a producing theatre. Through the support of Channel 4 and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, the writers are able to gain first-hand experience of a working theatre. As part of their attachment, the writers will complete at least one full-length play over the course of the year, with the theatre providing mentoring and support.
Lulu was awarded a bursary under the scheme through her previous play A Girl in School Uniform (Walks into a Bar), by a panel chaired by Richard Eyre. Run with the support of Channel 4 since 2013, the Playwrights' Scheme dates back more than forty years - first through Thames Television and later as the Pearson Playwrights’ Scheme. In this time, it has supported some of the finest British playwriting talent, including Jack Thorne, Joe Penhall, Catherine Johnson, Peter Moffat, Lucy Prebble, Martin McDonagh, Nancy Harris, Hanif Kureishi, Lydia Adetunji, Richard Bean, and Tanika Gupta.
This Theatre has the support of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme sponsored by Channel 4 Television