"Theatre should challenge, should open your eyes to the nooks and crannies of life you wouldn't see otherwise."
Peter Darney studied drama at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has acting, writing and directing credits to his name including the international fringe hit 5 Guys Chillin’.
He is currently directing gay crime thriller Kompromat by David Thame, which was inspired by the 2010 'spy in the bag' murders and opens at the Vault Festival next week.
Here he talks about what has made him a more empathetic director, how theatre should challenge and why Kompromat is a must-see.
Writer/director Peter Darney. Photo by Oscar Blustin
You wrote while you were at drama school, subsequently studied directing and then took up writing again how do the disciplines compare?
I made a living from acting for six years and it's quite blissful because I feel like I've come full circle.
I think what I always wanted to be was a writer and I am now really exploring that again but I'm bringing the knowledge I learnt from being an actor, knowing that I have to be able to motivate any line of dialogue.
And from being a director, having an understanding of structure and the bigger picture of what works and what doesn't; what's going to be impossible to stage, what's going to be cheap to stage and then taking all of that back into my writing.
Does it make you a better director?
A good boss can always do your job and everybody else's, so I think [it’s good] understanding the three disciplines.
You know what it feels like to stand there as an actor and get crushed by a director and I would hope it stops me from crushing an actor.
Similarly, knowing what it feels like to have a director say ‘oh no this is rubbish’... having empathy for each role I hope helps me work a little more holistically and with kindness.
What are you most proud of so far?
The thing I'm most proud of is a play that I wrote and directed called 5 Guys Chillin’ which is a verbatim drama about the chemsex epidemic.
It played in London for about six months, did two Edinburgh festivals, played Sydney and Toronto and it’s opening in a French translation in Paris this month.