Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

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Shifting March 13, 2012

The last couple years I’ve been doing lots of small things, lots of things that have amounted to more things and things that I have been proud of. Things. Yeah, them things. But for the last year I’ve been aching to concentrate on my full length plays because that’s what I’m in this to do, right? Right. I haven’t had time because each year seems to get busier with my career and choices. That’s why I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy.


So. I’ve been mulling on this idea since I asked my dad, “if I wrote a play about lorry drivers, would you come to the theatre?” He promptly laughed and said “yeah, I suppose so“. Two years later and I’ve finally got a finished version of the script that I’m happy to send out and for people to read. A former (unfinished and horribly clunky) version of the script, which is called Shifting, has been sent around and got great responses:


“This script immediately brings us into a marginal roadside world seldom portrayed on stage and screen. Vivid empathic characters and character-driven dialogue support the script’s ability to mine the drama from seemingly mundane relationships… Overall, I enjoyed this script and the fresh world it portrays.”
Hannah Rodger
New Writing Co-ordinator
BBC Writersroom


“A fascinating world drawn with real compassion and wit and humanity.”
Simon Stephens


“Interesting ensemble piece exploring the lives of long distance truck drivers and their families. The writer captures wonderfully the colloquial comic and brash language of this world creating a setting populated with interesting and original characters.”
Royal Court
Literary Department


“… Here at the National, we don’t normally give formal feedback, but I did want to pass on some thoughts from our readers. We felt Shifting was the most successful, and we enjoyed its sweetness, truthfulness and intimacy…”
Clare Slater
Assistant Literary Manager
National Theatre

It also placed well in the Verity Bargate Award (4th round) and I can safely say it’s the most epic story I’ve taken on in terms of staging, amount of characters and narrative. But I’m proud of it. I’m tempted to say it’s the best thing I’ve written, but I think every writer says that about the current thing they’re working on. Who cares, I’m chuffed I’ve finished it. And thank you to those who read it and gave feedback, they know who they are.



Alongside finishing this and starting the turbulent process of sending it out to people, I’ve made a strong mental decision to stick at home and spend less money and more time on writing all the ideas I have. This means not going into London unless I absolutely have to. Which does make me a little sad, but I kind of have no choice. There are books I’ve wanted to read since I can remember, films I’ve not opened for even longer and scripts I want to rework. I’m a funny fucker when it comes to time, mostly because it scares the crap out of me. But also because I always say I’ll do something tomorrow and I never do. And I mean I NEVER do and I hate that. I’ve now made the difficult decision and in the longterm I’m happy, it feels good. This was a different script for me. Each script is challenging me at every turn. If I compare each script I’ve written in the long form they differ drastically and this excites me. I’m constantly challenging myself and letting the story have its way with me and not mangling it to please anyone else. This script I’ve just finished reminded me of why I want to do this. Now I’ve just got to get people to read it. 


2 Responses to “Shifting”

  1. dom beno Says:

    Hi Katie, nice blog! I do read most (if not all) of your posts, but this one really struck a chord with me. I’m exactly the same as you – I want to write, but there’s always so much going on and thinks crop up and get in the way. It’s hard to say ‘No, I’m not going to have a life this weekend…instead I’m going to stay in and write’, but I think that’s what you have to do. I hope that when I’ve got a few of the ‘big’ projects I have planned out of the way, writing will become easier and juggling a life around it won’t be as difficult. Anyway, I salute you! And good luck.

    p.s. would love to read the script if you’d consider sending it to a ‘commoner’

    • Hallo Dom.

      Thanks for reading. I think the thing to remember is why you’re doing what you’re doing. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it. I’ve found that if I’m doing it and it becomes a chore I try every trick in the book to NOT do the hardwork. But as soon as I look at my projects another way (that’s if they’ve become a little stale) then there’s no stopping me. And you’ve got to have a life to write about, don’t forget that! So don’t be too hard on yourself matey.

      And of course I’ll let you read it! I’ll email it over in a mo.

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