Thanet Writers Question Steven Todd
My name is Steven Todd (generally known as Todd) and I’m a playwright
It all began for me 30-odd years ago when I was involved in staging a Mummers play in a local chapel. Getting hold of an existing script proved difficult, so, since I knew the form, I just wrote my own. It proved popular and I even had a request from a teacher to send her a copy to use with her pupils.
I am influenced by everything. What people do and say. Books I read. Music I hear. Politics, the weather, everything.
I am motivated to write by a need to express myself. It’s how I synthesise my feelings. I’m an introvert essentially, but have a paint pot full of extrovert sloshing around in there somewhere.
I don’t have a great many writing habits as it depends what I’m writing. One habit is to carry a little book around in case an idea strikes; another is to make a list of things I’d like my characters to say (specific lines or phrases, or just themes).
It’s difficult to say what inspires me as each play has an individual origin. I get all sorts of ideas, but usually one will be in colour, and that’s often the one I’ll run with.
Being a bit too ‘in the moment’ can hold me back from writing. I can easily find myself chasing down arcane bits of information, often unrelated to what I’m writing, and generally in books rather than on the computer. Also, I can easily be tempted out by bright or even blustery weather to walk into the next town and back.
One achievement I neither looked for nor expected, but of which I’m extremely proud, is a woman who came to see one of my plays after being placed in my town after a domestic abuse incident; she told me the whole experience (we had begun the play, but I saw her hesitating outside, said ‘Excuse me’ to the audience, and went out and fetched her in) had made her feel welcome and relaxed, and that the play itself had really helped broaden her thinking from just her own concerns.
My advice to other writers would be don’t be phased by the blank page, just write. Doesn’t matter how bad it is as no one sees what you don’t show them.
We’re coming to the end of a year-long jaunt with my play Right of Entitlement. It’s been a terrific experience and we’ve had some astonishingly good notices.
I’m just beginning a new play to tour next year, and, although he doesn’t know it yet, I’m adapting one of my brother’s detective novels to do locally next winter. I’m also halfway through a project for a bloke I know who had the idea for a musical of sorts, and even wrote some of the music, but can’t do lines or lyrics.
© 2019 Steven Todd
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Mr Todd is a published playwright and Director of Hags Ahoy Theatre Company.