Spotlight on: Kevin Lee, playwright

kevin lee

Kevin’s play Different Class is on at the Baron’s Court Theatre from July 19th – 23rd. For tickets and more information call 020 8932 4747 or e-mail londontheatre@gmail.com


 

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Kevin Lee, 31 years old, primarily a playwright, quite often a producer and occasionally a director. From Sydenham in South East London where I grew up and have spent most of my life. Had lots of different jobs before getting into theatre, including working on building sites, football coaching and managing customer service teams. Had four full length plays on in London over the past few years, currently working on my play ‘Different Class’ which will be showing at Barons Court Theatre 19th – 23rd July.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

By chance I just fancied doing something different and went to see a play called ‘Tinderbox’ by Lucy Kirkwood in 2008 starring Sheridan Smith. It was one of the most exciting experiences in such a tiny theatre and it made me want to keep going to see more. I kept seeing as much as I could and reading plays on my lunch break and started writing a few years later in secret until eventually I managed to get a play on by a small production company and it all kept going from there.

 

What was your first piece about? Looking back on it now, how, if at all, would you say your style has developed or changed?

I wrote a few plays at the start which looking back at were pretty terrible. Too long. Not interesting enough. Too many drafts. And I think they were probably stuff I knew about. Being young, relationships, pondering about life etc. The first full length play I had staged was called ‘girl-friend’ which was really well received, and was sort of a love triangle about if relationships between men and women can be purely platonic. I read it back recently and even though people enjoyed it, I felt like I could do a lot better with it now. After that play I wrote about things that really stretched me further, doing lots more research into subjects about things that interest me. I suppose I have just become much more professional in my approach to everything, and the difference now is upholding a reputation in the quality of my work, and trying to get better and learning as much as possible.

 

Tell us a bit about your current play, Different Class

I always find it really hard to describe. On the one hand, it’s just two people having a chat with a bit of dancing later on, but on the other hand it’s about love, living in London, being young, not quite knowing what you’re doing or where you’re heading in life. But maybe at the heart of it, it’s about not being able to say the things you really want to. Overall its good fun and I hope people go away from it with more questions than answers

 

What’s the most difficult part about writing? The most rewarding?

The most difficult part is probably being disciplined. I’m not very academic, so haven’t been used to writing essays, dissertations or just homework in general growing up, but I’ve been lucky to have lots of ideas and although sometimes it takes a little while to get in the flow of it, when I get a few days in I’m really determined to finish a draft so that all the planning and detail doesn’t evaporate from my mind.

The most rewarding is definitely sharing it with other people. At times you can look at staging a play as such a strange process to want to put yourself through, but I don’t think there are that many better feelings than getting people together to watch something you’ve written, and having that impact in which you’ve made them laugh, cry, moved, inspired or just wanting to talk about it afterwards. It’s all such a nice thing to be part of.

 

Any advice to other emerging playwrights?

Just concentrate on trying to get better at what you do. Don’t make excuses. Make sacrifices because it will be worth it in the long run. Don’t forget the things that made you want to do it in the first place. Write because you have to. Stay true to yourself. See as much as you can. Talk to people. Ask questions. Keep an interest in things away from writing and theatre.  Be fascinated by the world and the people in it.

 

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