LAURA WADE - PLAYWRIGHT
Laura Wade is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Her hit play Posh transferred to the West End from the Royal Court Theatre, and then onto the big screen as The Riot Club. Recent work includes Home I’m Darling, which premiered at Theatr Clwyd and the National Theatre in 2018, before transferring to the Duke of York’s Theatre where it won the 2019 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Her newest work, The Watsons is currently playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory, after a sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre last year.
Do you think the UK is a good place to live? Why?
I’m not sure it is, but I believe it can be. At the moment there’s too much inequality and it’s making us unhappy and divided. But if we can sort that out, I think we’ll be grand. On an aesthetic level, I think the UK is a beautiful country - I love the landscape of places like North Yorkshire and Scotland, and London is a constantly stimulating city to call home.
If you were suddenly made prime minister what would be the first thing you would change?
I would make it impossible for a ruling party’s membership to decide on a new prime minister without a general election. Even if it meant immediately sacking myself.
What is your favourite piece of work or the piece you are most proud of?
That’s hard: it’s like asking me which of my children I like best. I’ve been very lucky this year to see my two most recent plays have a second run in London - Home, I’m Darling and The Watsons. One directed by my best friend, one by my partner. Now you see why I can’t choose.
Who has been the greatest influence on your life?
Samuel West, my partner. There is no aspect of my life that he hasn’t managed to stick his filthy paws into.
If you hadn’t done what you are doing, what else do you think you would also have been good at? Is there another career you would have liked to have had?
Something to do with languages and/or cake. So that’s running a French patisserie, I suppose. But I’d still be going to the theatre a lot.
What do you think it would be like being the opposite sex?
Pretty frictionless, I imagine. Being able to reach things on high shelves and not being plagued by self-doubt or imposter syndrome...
Who out of everyone alive or dead you really like or have liked to get to know, not just meet?
Jane Austen, please. Her voice in her books and letters is so confiding and funny, and satirical without ever being nasty, so I feel she’d have been great company in real life. I’d love to take her out for tea. Or cocktails.
What is the most valuable piece of advice that anyone has ever given you that you have actually followed?
When going up or down stairs with a baby in your arms, concentrate on the stairs, not the baby.
Do you think you would have carried on doing what you do if you hadn’t ever had any success?
I think I would always have written because when you’re a writer that’s just your way of moving through the world. And I would still be going to the theatre because it’s my favourite thing to do. But I’d be sitting there in the dark dying of jealousy of all the people who’d made the show.
I think I’d have had to find some way still to be in that world, even if I wasn't able to become a professional playwright.
Lastly, which Stephen Einhorn piece of jewellery would you most like to own?
I wore the beautiful Stephen Einhorn Flame ring to the Olivier Awards, and felt properly dressed up. I don’t usually wear rings at all, let alone big ones, but the Flame is so gorgeous and unusual and I loved the weight of it on my hand. It felt like a lucky charm (and it worked!). I would very happily not have given it back.
LAURA WADE WEARS