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LISA PARRY: SECRET SPACES | FEATURE

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Feature

Cardiff-based playwright and poet Lisa Parry speaks with Buzz about her work and favourite Welsh secret.

You have written plays for theatres in Wales, London and New York. Where do you get inspiration to write these plays from?

It completely depends on the play. It can be a news article, a line from a book, something I spot in the street… There’s no go-to as such. But I think it’s important to try and keep the mind in a place where it can be inspired – usually by doing something completely different so it’s ready to want to work.

You are the founder of the female playwright contingent Agent 160 and last year, you co-founded the Cardiff-based Illumine Theatre. Can you explain to us what these are and why you support them?

Agent 160 was set up in response to the statistic that just 17 per cent of produced plays in the UK are written by women. We wanted to increase that percentage and so produced short plays by female playwrights from across the UK in Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Belfast. Then we produced more plays at Wales Millennium Centre. We also wanted to write about what we wanted to write about: a few of us felt pigeon holed into writing about certain issues because we were female. It’s still going but run by the writer Sandra Bendelow now although I remain a member.

Illumine was set up by myself and director Zoë Waterman as a Wales-based company last year. We’ve worked together off-and-on for years and wanted a way to continue to do this, whilst exploring ideas and work that creatively excited us.

What are you most excited for at TEDx in Cardiff?

Finishing, having remembered to say everything I want to without an actual script in front of me. And having known I got through so I can relax a bit! I love the format of TED and TEDx, the way everyone comes together. It reminds me of theatre. Though I’m not used to being the one on stage so we’ll see how it goes…

If someone had never been to Wales before and you could only recommend one place, where would it be?

Wales is too stunning to do that! My favourite places are Snowdonia (I love Dolgellau) and also Manorbier beach in Pembrokeshire with the castle backing onto the beach and the church and dovecot and ruined cottage… That said I love knocking around in Cardiff too. It’s such a brilliant city. That’s tough. Um… Yeah, genuinely stuck.

Lisa Parry is speaking at TEDx Cardiff, Tramshed, Sat 22 Apr. Info: www.tedxcardiff.co.uk

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