Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

Words will get written here and some videoblogs will appear. You don't have to look but it would be nice if you did.

The Next Big Thing (of sorts) December 24, 2012

My illustrious and regular theatre-friend Julie Mayhew has tagged me in a meme thing going round which isn’t as horrific as it might sound (it isn’t the novotastic flu thing). The idea is that you can let folks know about what you’re up to and I’ve slightly altered the questions so I can respond to them as a playwright. I feel a little bit of a fraud calling it The Next Big Thing, so humour me for a gentle blog post. I for one know this particular script needs a lot of work. But here they are…
1) What is the working title of your next play?

Thursday’s Child – that’s been the working title for quite some time now that I think I’m going to stick with it.


2) Where did the idea come from for the play?

I work visually so the scene that I saw clear as day and ended up bring the springboard for this play was stark. It was a man pissing in the corner of a run down dated bedroom and a little girl rushing to stop him.


3) What genre does your play fall under?

Hmmm. I think putting plays into genres is a toughy in that I don’t think they’re so strict as in film. At a push I’d say a State Of The Nation play but not as polemic. Maybe a State Of The Nation/Slice Of Life mash-up. Basically it’s a story and it’s a play. A journey through a brother and sister’s life through a lower class situation dealing with the care system, job seeker’s allowance and relationships.


4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Right. I’ve got four parts in this play…

Sandy (12) Feisty yet naive – Ilana Kneafsey
Terry (29) Bit of a drinker and outspoken – Rupert Friend
Charlotte (29) Bold but bored with life – Olivia Poulet
Wayne (15) Frustrated and spiky – Jamie Borthwick

Ilana Kneafsey

Ilana Kneafsey

Rupert Friend

Rupert Friend

Olivia Poulet

Olivia Poulet

Jamie Borthwick

Jamie Borthwick

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your play?

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your play?
Two siblings discover what it means to grow up and get real in amongst the comic books and issues in their life.

6) Will your play be self-published or represented by an agency?

As a playwright I’m the first cog of the development. So as soon as it’s done and finished proper like, it’ll do the usual rounds of literary departments and then see what happens. If I had the money to hand, I’d put it on myself tomorrow. Well, maybe after I’ve finished it proper like.


7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the play?

I did a very condensed vomit draft of it back in 2008 which took me 48 hours. After cringing every time I tried to re-read it since, I took a day or two to do a massive redraft to it a month or so ago. I say massive as in it was set in the 80s and is now current day, was set in the midlands and now set in Luton.


8) What other plays would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm. There’s the danger of sounding a bit too pretentious here isn’t there? I’ll tread carefully and speak widely… In terms of story there are elements of Mike Bartlett’s, ‘Love, Love, Love‘ as in the social impact of desires and money through the years. Character wise my male lead is a bit like Jimmy from ‘Look Back In Anger‘ by John Osborne. But I like to think it echoes the childlike innocence yet naively informative tones of Charlotte Keatley’s, ‘My Mother Said I Never Should‘.


9) Who or what inspired you to write this play?

Elements of my childhood, but I’d like to stress that it isn’t drawn from my personal experiences. Aside from that I’d say Leo Butler. He’s been a mentor every time I’ve been at the Royal Court for the writing groups and this was the result of the first one. He told me to be bold, hit the audience on the temple, then see what happens.


10) What else about your play might pique the reader’s interest?


Hmmm. Again, I’d say this is hard when talking about plays. I want to say my play would pique an audience member’s interest because my protagonist is a 12 year old girl who escapes her life through old comics. But then that could be seen as sensationalist because it’s a young girl. Tricky. But it does have a 12 year old girl who escapes her life through old comics and in the process strikes up a relationship with a fifteen year old boy. Yes, it does sound like one of those plays. But I promise you it’s not all doom and gloom, their friendship is beautiful and makes the adults present pale in comparison.
So they’re my answers about one of the plays that I’m redrafting. And in the spirit of things I’m going to tag the following folks: Gerry Hayes, a charming funny man who I’m currently collaborating on a project with and who writes, and Stephanie Ressort, another charming funny lady who I lovingly nicknamed Theatre Devil Incarnate who also writes. Both of these people don’t write enough so I’m being the metaphorical fire under their butt cheeks.


End Of 2010 For Katie December 22, 2010

Katie’s Breakdown (not mentally, not this year) For 2010 In Writing Terms

Yes, it’s going to be one of those blog entries… I warn you that this will be one long list of lists so I have a record of what I’ve done this year, I tend to forget you see.


Plays I’ve Seen

The Priory, Royal Court Theatre

Lieutenant Of Inishmore, Barn Theatre, Welwyn

Early Bird, Finborough Theatre

Space Vixens, Barnet

The Factory Round 2, Electric Showroom

Bluebird, Landor Theatre

Ghosts, Duchess Theatre

The Yellow Wallpaper, Ye Olde Rose and Crown Pub Theatre

Off The Endz, Royal Court

Peter and Vandy, Theatre503

Playing Faustus, OVO

Little Shop Of Horrors, Abbey Theatre, St. Albans

A Day At The Racists, Finborough Theatre

Leopoldville Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre

Posh, Royal Court Theatre

Whipping It Up, Bridewell Theatre

Mrs Reynolds And The Ruffian, Watford Palace Theatre

Little Gem, Bush Theatre

A Thousand Stars Explode In The Sky, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Children Of Darkness, Leicester Square Theatre

Marine Parade, The Old Market, Brighton

OperaShots, Royal Opera House

66a Church Road, New Players Theatre

Sucker Punch, Royal Court Theatre (twice – took the ‘rents the second time)

Volpone, Old Town Hall, St. Albans

Money:Shunt, Bermondsey Street, London

Little Shop Of Horrors, St. Albans Amphitheatre

Spur Of The Moment, Royal Court Theatre

Show Of The Night, Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Traverse Live! Clapham Picturehouse

Ghost Stories, Duke Of York’s

Bunny, Watford Palace Theatre

Wanderlust, Royal Court Theatre

Cut Off, Theatre503

Clynbourne Park, Royal Court Theatre

The Big Fellah, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Tribes, Royal Court Theatre

Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Fool, Cock Tavern

Red Bud, Royal Court Theatre

Blasted, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Kin, Royal Court Theatre

Hungry Ghosts, Orange Tree Theatre

Cut Off, Tristan Bates Theatre


Plays I’ve Had Performed

The White Room, Abbey Theatre, St. Albans

Regina V. Cooper, Old Town Hall, St. Albans

Shakesperience, Abbey Theatre, St. Albans

Love-Aged-Trilogy, The Book Club – Interrobang, London

Food For Thought – Cut Off, Tristan Bates Theatre, London



Writing for Radio, Fraser Grace, Menagerie Theatre Company, Cambridge

ICA Lab, for children’s TV series CIRCUS, London

The Fielding Programme, Kilcreggan, Glasgow

Royal Court Invitation Group, Royal Court Theatre, London


I also got published! I had my short story, “Providence”, published by Tonto Press in, “Even More Tonto Short Stories” and went along to the book launch up in Newcastle. Thank you to Caroline Smailes and Stuart Wheatman who selected my story as a winning one and went and published it. You made me a very happy giddy girl.


I also received my first proper London commission from Box Of Tricks theatre company. They liked my work and then asked me to write something for them which I will forever be eternally grateful for, because somewhere in my heart that makes me feel like a playwright. The first draft is currently sitting on their desk waiting to be read and when I’m further along the line with that particular project I will pester you all in coming to see it.


And talking of London I had a small debut with the one off performance of, “Love-Aged-Trilogy” and then I had my proper London debut with the five night run of, “Food For Thought” as part of “Cut Off” (both with fellow thespian conspirator Melissa Dunne). Equally exciting and terrifying they were, but I went and done them and now I can say that I’ve done it. It’s made me better.


And I met a whole lot of new Lovely people. I like them all (mostly) and maybe even secretly fancy some of them (Tom ‘Cake’ Hardy – okay, not so secret) but they’ve been a delight and a pleasure to know. There are too many of you to list here, but you’re Lovely so stay Lovely and spread the Lovely.


Y’see, I thought last year was extremely busy and pivotal for my career, but it seems this year has trumped that. I’ve gained a lot more understanding of what I want to do which is always handy, especially when I spend a lot of my time waiting to hear back on things. It’s not always been great I can’t deny that. There have been schemes that I’ve been shortlisted for but not obtained, there have been reserve lists for other schemes that I’ve not progressed from, there have been flat out rejections and there have also been angry tirades to particular companies… But all in all I have done a lot this year because I’ve put the hours/days/weeks/months in. And I have to say I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved. I can honestly look back at all the work I have produced this year (some scripts haven’t and probably won’t be performed at all) and conclude that I am a little bit closer to doing this properly.


So I hope this has been a productive blog for you to read… Who am I kidding, it’s just one big post-it note for me.



(Exciting for me) Katie Catch-Up November 4, 2010



Details about times/places/info of my London debut are available here where I’ve previously jabbered about them: [previous jabbering]


and for the more professional gunf such as the venue putting information about me on their website: [professional shout out]


Loving your face.



Royal Court On The Brain July 23, 2010



And because my head is in work so deep at the moment I completely forgot to mention that I’ve been asked back to the Royal Court for their Invitation Only Writing Group (again!). Which is nice and Lovely as I’m gagging to start work on the new play (of my own) and having the structure and goal of ending up with a first draft will do me in good stead. The dates are a bit hazy at the moment but I think it’s September, which just so happens to be my busiest month, but hey… I’ll be getting more work done.


Now on your way, nothing else to see here I’m afraid.


It Wasn’t You, It Was Me. March 19, 2010

I’ve gone done it again and left you in the lurch. My sincerest apologies. Here, have a photograph of me looking shifty to try and rectify this problem (I’m wearing a trilby Ma McCullough bought me randomly and there is a pile of scripts behind me, they feature later):


Mopey me


I’ve been quiet of late on both Twitter and Facebook (the latter not so much recently, it has featured high in my procrastination fund) because I have been bizzle. Extremelyoso. That’s not a real word but I just wrote it so it fits neatly in my head as being 100% real.


What have you been up to Katie? I hear you cry. Well, I hear some of you mumble. Because I’ve just practically eaten a whole bag of sweets to myself the following will become a blur of words and facts and memories that seem like yesterday but were last month:


* I got invited to see a rehearsal performance of Philip Ridley’s new play ‘Moonfleece’
* I saw ‘Off The Endz’ at the Royal Court
* I watched one of my bosses shave his locks off (not slang for bollocks I promise, I would have stepped in if that were to happen before my eyes, even if under the influence of sugar)
* I saw ‘Peter and Vandy’ at Theatre503 and took part in the invitation to do their writers’ response (but didn’t get picked).


And in between all of that I’ve had a whole load of shitty rejections but teetering the balance I’ve had some fucking amazing segments of news. I’m not going to discuss neither of those parties just yet. Oh I’m a big sloth like tease.


Like I say this will be a brief ‘hallo’ just to prove I’m still here and doing stuff.


I’ve been plugging away at episode two of the children’s TV programme idea I had for the CBBC competition a while back. Encouraged by my other boss and after having it professionally read and given full blown feedback on it I thought I’d do something about it. And the reason I had (some small limited) time on my hands was because “I Still Get Excited When I See A Ladybird” is in the ether and floating around through hands and slush piles and panels. Exciting? Uh huh. So I signed up for a Lab at the ICA and then had the space of a week (whilst weaving in and out of my other jobs and rehearsals) to write episode two. It was hard to begin with because I was being a dunce. I didn’t have time to plan what was going to happen over the entire series so I ended up just writing blindly to create a second episode.


Nothing sexier than a full whiteboard


The results aren’t too bad but I’m not sure if it’s an episode two. The reading’s soon and I’ve been rushing around not only finishing the thing but casting and arranging chaperoning children up to London on a Sunday. I feel like I’ve sacrificed a whole forest today after printing out 22 scripts. Gah.




When I’ve more time I shall be teasing my next idea from my head on to this blog. I’m sure you wait with baited breath. I can smell it, please brush vigorously next time.


In the mean time you may remember me discussing song lyrics and using them as an exercise to create a monologue. Well I had my lesson with my student a few weeks ago and we read her efforts back to her and they were brilliant. A fellow friend and reader of this here blog has sent their work in so I shall now unveil it. If anyone else has done it please feel free to let me know and I’ll pop them up here. Without further a do…


Elbow – My Very Best (by Stanley Walton)


Well isn’t that just one of the scattiest blog entries you’ve ever read. I have a certain charm for these things.


Hallo Miss Busy! August 31, 2009

It’s late and I have tomorrow’s day already encroaching so this will be brief. I’ve been busy with work up to my eyelashes at the moment and it’s all exciting and extremely knackering. What with my unpredictable bouts of gallbladder problems and unhealthy scoops of lethargy I seem to be either writing, scrawling, writhing or sleeping.

But I came here to tell you what I’m up to…

Come end of this week I’ll be working with a few select students alongside Theatrix to do a modern adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. We’re going to be workshopping the short story and picking out the relevant themes that the students involved want to explore. It went in my favour that I saw an adaptation of this very short whilst up in Edinburgh. It was a humble amateur production that excelled in places and limped along in others. But what it did show me was the importance of the male voice within this female representation of post-natal depression and insanity. There’s only one male figure that appears directly within the text which is that of the controlling husband. The adaption I saw seemed to gloss over the role too easily and made him appear cliche ridden and lacking depth. What I’m hoping to do is flesh the male voices (I’m going to give a voice AND face to the much mentioned brother) out and add texture to the piece allowing for relationships to jump off the stage and not be hidden in subtext. This may seem to go against the grain of subtlety but the short story is essentially a monologue but I want to turn that on its head and explore it as a multiple hander. The one thing I want to do is free it of the claustrophobic Victorian setting it currently resides in.

Aside from that I’m still umming and arring over what play to chose to take along to the Arvon course in November. It’s something that I’m fretting over because I want to make sure I’m giving out a good representation of my work. I’ve got my first full length play that was written for the Royal Court as part of the Young Writers’ Programme which I should be working on to take it to a third draft stage. But I’m lacking the motivation. Then there’s the second one I wrote as part of the Invitation Only group at the Royal Court which hasn’t been touched since I handed it in earlier this year which could do with whipping into shape. I’m leaning towards the latter so I can have potentially two strong pieces but I don’t know if I’m just being lazy about the first and looking for a good excuse to leave working on it a bit longer… Ignore this rambling please, sometimes I just have to write down my inane thoughts so I can what a doofus I’m being. The other pressing factor is that I’m going to be working with Simon Stephens on the selected work so I do want to make this decision based on proper thought. I’ll leave that till later…

Since my last posting I’ve been having a fair few short pieces flung around the Internet-electronical-sphere. All exciting and confidence boosting to say the least but also because the contacts I’ve made with the sites mentioned are absolutely Lovely and keen to showcase new work so if you’ve not visited them before please go and tell them I sent you. They’re rather nice. Here’s a list of the new works up and raring to be read:

“Homecoming” over at Six Sentences

“The Horny Insomniac” over at Six Sentences

“Tidal” over at Metazen

Please feel free to wander over and rate and/or comment on them. Then go try it yourself, very good for editing skills (as I seem to keep stressing recently) and a fun experiment.

Aside from that aside I’m tinkering away on audition monologues which seem to be more interesting than anything else I should be working on, but for those that know me (or are getting to know me) I prefer to be busy. Along the way I’ve been experimenting with Hint Fiction of which details can be found here. Through the myriad of blogs and competitions I keep adding little tasks to do writing wise so if I’m not working on writing, I’m thinking about working on writing and more than often it’s not the thing I should be working on. Go figure.

This jumbled blog was brought to you by the power of Ribena and the letter 9. Out.

P.s. I realise I still haven’t blogged about Edinburgh. I apologise for my tardiness.

P.p.s. I also realise that this is written and not talky talky for you. I apologise for my… Lack of self-pimping?


Re-Introducing… Katie! August 19, 2009