REPOST: Lyndsey Turner- Activating an image

During this public health emergency, the safety and wellbeing of our staff, artists, audiences and families comes first.

We have been exploring ways in which we can all remain connected and optimistic. The Bruntwood Prize has always been about much more than the winners. It is about opening up playwriting to anyone and everyone, to support anyone interested in playwriting to explore the unique power of creative expression. Therefore we want to make this website a resource now for anyone and everyone to explore theatre and plays and playwriting.

In the sixth of her new writing provocations, director and jury member Lyndsey Turner considers the visual.


Sometimes, a single image might spark an idea which turns into something more. I remember asking one writer why he’d written a particular play: he explained that he woke up one morning with an image of a man on all fours barking like a dog and wrote the play in order to find out why the character was doing that. Lucy Kirkwood’s play Chimerica is a riff on a single image: the man who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Perhaps the image captured her imagination and the play was an attempt to activate that image into story.

  • What are the images you return to again and again, either real or imagined?
  • Why not visit a gallery or look at a collection of images online to see if you encounter the beginnings of an idea?
  • Is the image you keep seeing at the beginning of the play, at the end, or does it represent a turning point for one of its major characters (i.e. does your man bark like a dog in the opening moments, or is that where the story is leading)?


Published on:
18 Nov 2020


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