Get the Chance values the role Welsh or Wales based playwrights bring to the cultural life of our nation. Here is the latest interview in this series with actor and playwright Matthew Trevannion.
Hi Matthew great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi, my name is Matthew Trevannion I am a Welsh playwright and actor living in London. I’ve been acting professionally for 13 years (When given the opportunity) and writing for around 8. All But Gone is my third full production in a Welsh theatre, following Bruised at Theatre Clwyd and Leviathan for the Sherman.
So what got you interested in the arts?
When introduced to Shakespeare in school something shifted. I won’t embellish and say that I went straight out and devoured the whole canon but I recognized something miraculous was being offered when reading it. I wanted to understand how someone could take the same letters that you might find on the back of a cereal box and organize them in a way that offered the whole world.
Your latest play All But Gone will premier at The Other Room this month. The production information states “What use is love when the mind fractures and fades? Is it our vice, or our only remedy?” Can you tell us more about the back ground to this new production?
I wouldn’t want to offer too much in the way of plot but I can say in retrospect that the play is for my grandparents. It’s about the madness of enduring love and the price of that. That said this play is anything but a maudlin tale of decay.
All But Gone rehearsals, credit Kieran Cudlip
You are an actor as well as a playwright. I wonder if your knowledge of both disciplines cross-pollinates when you are working in both different disciplines?
Yes, in the sense that my three years at drama school was a great education in what it takes to structure a play. It has flowed back the other way into my acting in that I recognise the amount of work that goes into writing. It’s fostered a real respect for the craft of others. It is a long and arduous process full of joy and doubt, but one that’s always worth persevering with. You start the process in a room by yourself and wind up in an audience surrounded by others.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists or specifically writers?
Living in London I can’t pretend to be a voice of authority on such things. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve received support from an early stage in my writing career. I’m afraid I just don’t have enough knowledge on that front to make comment.
There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based writers, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?
Again, anything I write here would be a guess. I don’t possess an intimate understanding of the writing network in Wales. Even though I’ve worked within it. All I can say is that there should always be support for people at all stages of their career. If someone is rolling out of bed each day with their head full of ideas then there must be avenues for them. Avenues designed to support them through to the very end of the process too.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
By “area” I would think in a geographic sense. National Theatre Wales has made inroads into communities and offered world-class theatre to people in their hometowns. That is deeply commendable but we have to be careful that we don’t know set up shop in these places only because there is media interest in the events surrounding the area or that it is home to a famous son. We should be taking theatre to communities that are starved of it because that is our responsibility.
What excites you about the arts in Wales? What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
Gary Owen is still as lively as ever. I saw his Killology at the Royal Court and thought it was a thrilling piece of writing, beautifully performed. That’s really exciting. Welsh based productions finding audiences further afield. Let’s hope it continues.
Many thanks for your time