Kat Drury on Why We All Need To Play


Katharine Drury offers up advice about the importance of using a good ol’ moan as an instigator for action, and chats about her recent experience doing just that in her collaboration with PLAY. Katharine is a writer, actor and an associate artist of PLAY, a theatre company that offers up a completely new approach to new writing. Catch PLAY at the Vault festival this month and next month. All info can be found HERE. We’ll see you there.

What is wrong with your industry?

What do you hate about your job?

If I asked these questions of all the brilliant women in my life- especially those working on a freelance basis in arts and media- I wouldn’t be short on answers.

I’m an actor, so I am totally allowed to say that actors- excellent as they are- love a good moan. Whenever I meet up with thespy chums to sink a glass (bottle/bottles/delete as appropriate), the night inevitably descends to the airing of grievances: issues of fairness, representation and fulfilment crop up an awful lot. We all bemoan the lack of opportunity, the amount of time we spend not doing what we trained to do.

My head would probably implode without these sessions, moaning is necessary, for sure. But- a little voice in my head sometimes asks-couldn’t you do more than moan? Couldn’t you try and change something, even if it’s just something small?

I tend to just shush this little voice, drown it with wine, so when Rebecca Durbin- a friend from university and a fellow actor-decided to do something, I sat up and took notice. Becs Durbs had graduated from the prestigious RWCMD, moved to London and was frustrated by the lack of opportunities available to her as a recent acting graduate. Like so many of us, she didn’t want to sit around waiting for auditions to come in. PLAY was born of this frustration.

The idea is pretty darn simple: four writers, four directors, ten actors, two weeks, and, at the end, four brand new plays. PLAY gives creative people an opportunity to make work and forge connections. I can’t quite express how important it has been for me.

PLAY started at a community space in South London last June. On the hottest Friday of the year, over one hundred people packed in to watch PLAYs 1-4. In September PLAYs 5-8 were performed at the Old Red Lion.

I was a proud cast member at both venues and I just bloody loved doing them. It was such a thrill to be in a room with like-minded creatives, and to have audiences respond so warmly to our work. It reminded me why I had decided to train as an actor.

Next up we are excited- and a bit terrified- to be presenting PLAY at the 2016 VAULT Festival. Thirty-six actors, writers and directors will be making PLAYs 9-12 in January and 13-16 in February. It is massive step up for the company.

I’m totally biased, but I do think they make for a super night at the theatre; there’s something exciting about watching something new, and this is super new work. The script will only have been finalised days before and the actors will be on the tips of their toes. It is also short, which, let’s be honest, is A Good Thing. Four plays of just fifteen minutes each make for a night of varied, speedy and (hopefully) engaging theatre.

So, basically, I’d love you to come see PLAY. I think you’ll like it, because it’s good. But- more importantly- I would like to give you a gentle kick up the bum: don’t stop moaning, moaning is great. But perhaps you could have a moan and then do something. Being part of PLAY has inspired me, made me realise that I can make change happen.

And- Quarter Clubbers- you so can too. Go forth and… make stuff better.