How little moments change a relationship: Writer Steve Waters explains Why We Can't Live Together at Theatre 503
Steve Waters is a playwright whose works include The Contingency Plan and World Music. His play Why Can't We Live Together is being performed at Theatre 503, as part of the Hotbed Festival Double Bill, which is offering audiences a glimpse of work from the festival.
What is why can't we live together all about?
It's a series of very short themes about a relationship seen over time - the course of a relationship over 13 years.
What inspired the play?
I was interested to see if you could evoke detailed moments about life. I was thinking about how memory works - how little different moments of a choice or an argument can kind of shift a relationship. I was trying to capture that sense.
The work featured in the Hotbed Festival of New Writing - why is it important for playwrights to take part in events like these?
I think they offer a very interesting opportunity. I have worked with a company who run the festival on a number of occasions. You get the chance to write about to write what is happening in the world right now. It enables something more playful to emerge, perhaps something more experimental. You also try and write something very simple. There is something very portable about the story being told.
You also lecture at the University of East Anglia, what is it like imparting your knowledge on others?
It is exciting, I love teaching. I have always taught in one form or another and creative writing is very important at UEA. I absolutely love meeting young writers at the beginning of their careers.
Passing on knowledge is an interesting term - you are well placed to start that dialogue with other writers. This play also looked to they way we teach. It was, I think, about different ways you tell stories.
How did you first get into writing?
It was when I was studying I did a little play which did very well. When I left I was a teacher, I found myself writing plays for my students.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
There has been so many. The Contingency Plan, to have these two plays staged at The Bust Theatre and still having them read and talked about and staged elsewhere. Sometimes you hit the mark with something. That was a real highlight. I am delighted to be working at Theatre 503 as I've never worked there before. Sometimes it is just sheer relish in seeing the actors take on your writing. There are so many highlights.
Where are your favourite places to watch theatre?
I have a loyalty to theatres who staged my plays. I have got to mention I love The Bust Theatre.
I go where new writing takes me, there are all sorts of places I love. In Coventry there is a theatre where they do work in a chip shop, that is an electric place to be in. I am becoming more interested in non-conventional theatres.
A recent report from the LGA found smaller theatres are struggling in the recession - what do you think can be done to help them survive?
I feel we have to remember these theatres have been funded over the past 15 years. Audiences followed that. We have to build on that and make sure money is available. Theatres need to collaborate with each other. We need a whole network of theatres. These cuts to theatres are incredibly misguided and misunderstood.
What else have you got lined up for 2013?
One of the more interesting and weird things I have done is being staged in Birmingham.
Europa is by three European writers which will be on in October. It was directed in Croatia and Poland, it was a very exciting and unusual piece to work on.
Hotbed Festival Double Bill, Theatre 503, Battersea Park Road, Battersea, October 15 to November 9, doors 7.45pm, tickets £15, visit theatre503.com or call 020 7978 7040
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