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on Kaite O’Reilly – playwright extraordinaire

Atypical playsI have just finished reading and listening to an interview with Kaite O’Reilly – the 2010 Ted Hughes Poetry Award winner, and I thought you would be interested.

She is an extraordinary giving and talented woman.

Just reading her emails fills my day with light; but when I saw her most recent play COSY, in Cardiff last spring – and bought and read her new book Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors, my admiration for her and her work went through the roof.

I know she is of Irish descent, I think she was born in Birmingham – certainly her early childhood was spent there, where her father had a Butcher’s shop. (I remember this fact because she told me that as a toddler she was allowed into the window display of fresh meat where she danced to passers by!)

When asked:  What advice would you give to young and emerging disabled artists who are at the beginning of their careers? she replies:

I think the advice that I would give to emerging artists of whatever discipline – and whether they’re disabled or Deaf or hearing and non-disabled – is always the same. We need resilience. We have to take risks. There’s new blood coming through, and they need to shake things up a bit. They have to find their own way of doing things. Find the allies who are trying to bring about change. I would say please remain curious, please remain defiant and questioning and passionate, and enjoy it. It has to be enjoyable, because otherwise, why are we doing it? Know who your forbearers were, acknowledge your influences, but chop it up, break it up, smash it up, make it your own.

Go here to read and listen to her recent interviews at Southbank’s Unlimited Festival

For more information about her book go here.

Nadia x

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