Edinburgh Fringe interview: Writer Kat Woods on frustration with theatre elitism and breaking working class stereotypes
Award-winning writer/director Kat Woods returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with Killymuck, here she talks about breaking working-class stereotypes - and why you should always perform like its press night.
What inspired you to write Killymuck?
Killymuck is a piece of theatre inspired by my own council estate, benefit upbringing. I have become increasingly frustrated with the elitism that exists within the realm of theatre and the constant portrayal of the benefit class stereotype which is perpetuated in the media. This constant negative ideology that becomes almost biblical rhetoric needs to be rewritten.
Why is it important this story is told?
If we don't start to tell stories from all classes and all minorities then we are not representing society as a whole. How do we open up the doors of the theatre to the underclasses or the working classes if they are not reflected in the narratives that are being told?
You won an award for a previous fringe piece - Belfast Boy - does that make it easier or harder coming back?
I've actually had two pieces on since Belfast Boy - Wasted and Mule. I found it incredibly difficult coming back after having a success.
My follow-up play was Wasted, a piece about consent. That was in 2015 and I think we may have been a year or two too early with it. It has had more success now and is returning to America this year.
I wasn't really mentally prepared for how tough I would find it. The scrutiny can be so overwhelming and it’s very easy to slip mentally when reading reviews and comments on the piece of work that you have worked so hard on.
Fringe is great craic but it is also a huge opportunity. Treat every performance like a press night as you never know who is watching (I mean that in a non-creepy way!).
Go for walks, go up Carlton Hill, get headspace. Have a nice long bath. Eat some greens.
If you see someone and you think they are having a shit day ask them if they are ok. We need to look after each other.
Finally, remember reviews are just one person’s opinion (Although this is something that I need to heed myself!)
Favourite Edinburgh anecdote?
Earlier I mentioned how you never know who is watching and this anecdote demonstrates why.
We had a power cut in 2016 during a performance of Mule, total blackout. Everyone sat for what felt like forever in the darkness as I ran for help.
A solo voice broke the silence by shouting up to the actors that they were doing a great job. That voice was Hollywood legend Paul Newman's daughter Lissie Newman.
Turns out she's a fan of my work...which is the craziest thing in the world.
When you aren’t performing, what are you most looking forward to seeing?
Cannot wait to see Flesh and Bone and I'm usually a bit biased to the other Irish acts.
Killymuck is at the Underbelly McEwan Hall (Jersey) from 1-27 August (excluding 13th) at 18.25 and is 60 minutes.
Edit: My Killymuck review is here and you can see it in London at the Bunker Theatre from March 26.
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