Meet the Shortlist- Archie Maddocks

This year the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Judges decided upon a winner anonymously on Monday 23rd October. The winner and Judges Awards will be announced at the Award Ceremony (livestreamed from 4pm Nov 13th) In the run up to the ceremony we’re profiling all the shortlisted writers and their plays.

 

A Place for We- Archie Maddocks 

Nine Nights, a traditional West Indian funeral parlour in Brixton, can no longer function. The West Indian community that was once prevalent in the area has all but disappeared. Now Clarence and his family face a decision of whether to adapt to the new needs of the world around them, or leave the only life they’ve ever known. 

 

Archie is an emerging playwright with his work already having been produced at the Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Orange Tree Theatre, Royal Court, and in New York at the New Light Theatre. He was commissioned by the Bush for a full length play and is also currently writing a new play for Northern Stage as one of two playwrights commissioned under the Revolution Mix scheme: an initiative to increase the presence of BAME stories on the stage. 

As well as a writer Archie is also a stand-up comedian and was runner up in Amused Moose Laugh Off 2014, Winner of the Bath Festival New Comedian 2014, and NATYs 2014 finalist. His debut show, Shirts Vs Skins got several 4 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, was long listed for the Amused Moose Comedy Award and Toured in South Africa.

A Place for We was previously known as Nine Nights, and was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award 2017 under that title.

 

Q+A

What inspired you to write this play?

I have a complicated feeling with the creeping gentrification that is occurring worldwide. On the one hand, it decimates communities and displaces people from their homes in favour of newer, more economically viable inhabitants. On the other, hipster coffee shops are pretty nice. With this play, I wanted to shine a light on gentrification on a certain community, but then also suggest that it may not necessarily be a bad thing, it may be a kind of sociological survival of the fittest. Oh, and I worked in a funeral parlour and thought “this would be a good starting point for a play”. 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an playwright?

I’ve been writing since I graduated from University. At times, most times, it’s a tough job (tough in the romantic sense, not the physical pain staking labour sense). It can be lonely, frustrating, confusing, economical suicide. But then at times it’s very rewarding. I’ve been lucky enough to have received encouragement from people and theatres often enough that’s it made me not give up, so I think all in all it’s been a bumpy journey up some rocky terrain. But I wouldn’t change it (except for having one hundred percent more people calling me a genius and giving me funding to put on what I want, which may or may not feature several segways… That’s probably why nobody calls me a genius).    

 

How do you feel about being shortlisted?

I’m elated, despondent and confused. Overall delighted, despondent because I think I’ll ruin it somehow, and confused because I honestly feel like somebodies made a mistake.

 

What do you think about anonymity of the Bruntwood Prize?

I loved it. I preferred having entered something thinking that if it’s crap, nobody would ever know. 

 

Event dates:
2 Nov 2017

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