Get to know: Playwright Lisa Parry



What role do you play in the production of 2023?

I'm the playwright and also the co-producer. I run Illumine alongside director Zoë Waterman.


How long have you been working in theatre and how did you get involved?

I started writing in my teens and then went into journalism after studying English at uni. I worked on regional papers for a while and then in London but I couldn't shake off the fact I wasn't telling stories in the way I wanted to. They felt constrained inside a formula. So I decided to study playwriting at the University of Birmingham for a couple of years and had a great time being taught by some amazing playwrights and finding my feet. 

How did 2023 come to life?

It's been a long process. I started writing it when the storyline wouldn't quit my head and I had to get it down. It was one of those I couldn't shake off. It's been developed through rehearsal and development sessions funded by ACW and then through copious rewrites. Though I wouldn't say it's really come to life until these actors have had it - it's an odd shift, watching it go from being in my head to the stage. Odd, but true and lovely.


How have you found the process of writing a play set in the future?

It's really hard actually because it's not so far away but far enough that things will have changed a bit - technology, the political situation. Brexit's been a hard one to deal with. It's been in and out of drafts. As has Scottish independence and what that could mean for Wales. And the medical side of the play too is very much something of the future. But the really freaky thing with that is that some of what I made up years ago has actually come true between writing and production. 

What most excites you about having 2023 performed at Chapter?

I think what I'm really proud of and excited about is that the play is set in Cardiff, has three Cardiff actors in it and is in a Cardiff venue. It feels right to be making theatre which reflects the city in which I live. Also that, because I live here, friends will see it, as opposed to stuff I've done in London which has been brilliant creatively, but which people haven't had a chance to see. I was so excited to see the show poster up in the loos the other day. I really love Chapter as a venue. The staff there have always been supportive of my work and I'm so happy Illumine's first production will be there. We've assembled such a brilliant creative team too. I sit in production meetings and want to pinch myself when I see the talent around the table. I feel very lucky at the moment and can't wait until we open.