Isley Lynn is an American-born, London-based playwright and poet. Her work has been produced and supported by the National Theatre Studio and Cottesloe Theatre, Nabokov, Lyric Hammersmith, the Tricycle, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Ovalhouse, the Arcola, Apples and Snakes, Battersea Arts Centre and Literary Death Match.
She is a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme (2012) and Royal Court Invitation Studio Group (2013) and was a Creative Associate of the Soho Theatre Young Company from 2011-2012. Isley received Special Commendation from the 2012 Soho Young Writers Award and her first full-length play LEAN ran at the Tristan Bates theatre from 29th January – 23rd February 2013 and she is currently a member of the Orange Tree Writers Collective.
Describe a typical day for you?
As there’s no typical day I’ll describe a perfect day, which amazingly I sometimes manage to have… I’d sleep until I wake up naturally (no alarm!) and work from bed on artistic projects as well as things like taxes, answering emails etc.
Then I’ll get up for a late lunch; I feel sick if I eat too soon in the day, but once I start, I don’t really stop! Then I’d go to work at my day job as a life model for one of my artist clients, sitting very still while thinking about my current script. After that I might meet a friend – all of which are collaborators – for a chai latte or a meal before going to the theatre in the evening. I’d then come home and get back into bed with cookies and milk while binging on BuzzFeed, snorting said milk everywhere.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
So far my greatest achievement professionally has been the production of my play LEAN which ran at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden earlier this year. Everyone in the team were dedicated and brilliant and we averaged 4/5 star reviews. But I consider getting director Jonny Kight interested in my script TAKETH as a big achievement too – we’re going to make a short film together from it and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Jonny is an incredible director and we’ve got some stunning acting talent on board (including Nicholas Pinnock from Top Boy) so it’s a bit of a dream project for me. It’s a highly-original representation of important, unspoken stories, and I have high hopes for it. We’re currently raising the funds to make it happen, so I’m spending a lot of time compulsively refreshing our Kickstarter page and sweating.
What’s in your handbag/satchel etc?
I have a huge satchel-style backpack, which saves my back because I carry everything around in it: pads of paper, pens, sometimes my laptop, tissues, a book I’m reading (currently Anais Nin’s diaries), various medicines, sun lotion, maybe some lunch or a snack, my very limited makeup bag, a hand-held fan, my phone, oyster card, iPod, house keys and most importantly of all my diary – I can’t ever remember what I’m supposed to be doing without it.
What are your ambitions in life?
I have many ambitions, and one of them is to own a Great Dane. I’ve always wanted one (I love all animals) but they’re like small horses so I think having the time and resources to take care of one would be a pretty good indicator that I was doing OK in life.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I see myself as a world famous and important young playwright, making all my income from my writing and owning my own house plus lots of pets. I’m not sure this is an accurate image though…
What advice would you give a budding writer?
Just make the work you can’t live without making. Nothing else matters really. And don’t stop working until it’s the best it can be – writing takes a huge amount of honesty, about your subject and with yourself, so being hard on yourself will only make the work better. But be kind to yourself too; nothing is worth your sacrificing health and happiness for, not even art. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise, either!
Finally, happiness is… Carbohydrates.
For more information about TAKETH, including how to pledge your support towards this hugely worthwhile project, please click here. You can watch the trailer below:
Photo credit Matt Thomas.