Amy Trigg is busy. I mean she’s really busy.
Currently part of the TV Drama Writers’ Programme, the Witham-based performer is currently on attachment with the Kiln Theatre, after winning one of six 2022 Playwrights’ Scheme Bursaries. Among many other television projects in development at the moment, she is also the writer on the upcoming series ‘Ralph and Katie’, a spin-off of the popular BBC1 show ‘The A Word’.
This year has already seen her short play ‘It’s Not Like It’s Illegal’ performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East in May and in February her debut radio drama ‘A is for Award’ aired on BBC Radio 3.
“I never really set about to be a writer,” Amy tells me. “I always liked the idea of writing but to be honest I never thought I was smart enough. What I really wanted to do was act and perform.”
Now she’s doing both; and it’s her award winning play, ‘Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me’, that is making it all happen.
In the show, Amy plays Juno, among other characters, a woman born with spina bifida who is clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness – and the feeling of being an unfinished project.
Now although that sounds familiar, Amy assures me the play is not all about her.
“There’s a lot of me and my life in it,” she admits, “but I didn’t want to make it autobiographical. The characters are made-up and the story is completely fictionalised. I can see that it’s a bit tricky in terms of people thinking that it’s me. For a long time the main character didn’t have a name but I gave her one to get away from that. Having that distance gave me the freedom to do what I wanted but also bush the boundaries a bit.”
The play came at another moment in her life when Amy was super busy, but this time with her acting.
“I’d just finished at the Globe, and I had been in the second Mama Mia film,” she says. “I was also doing stage combat and a presenting course, so things were really happening. Then I got an audition for the RSC and I knew that was what I really wanted. It was in Rep with roles in two of the three shows, and it was in the two-break between each show that I thought I might write a play.”
A mix of essays, monologues and old skits and sketches from her days doing stand-up, she entered it for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting in 2020 and was more than a little surprised when she won.
Amy says: “I sent it to lots of different places including the Prize but I was stunned when I found out it had won. Part of winning was the option to have it produced for the stage but it also opened loads of other doors like getting on the writing panels for BBC Drama and the Royal Court Theatre.”
Produced by acclaimed theatre company, Paines Plough, in association with Women’s Prize for Playwriting, 45North and Kiln Theatre, Reasons arrives on almost home turf for Amy this week at the Mercury Theatre Studio before continuing on a tour around the UK until November 26.
Not bad for someone who after leaving drama school couldn’t get a part for love nor money.
Born and brought up in Witham, Amy went to Rickstones School and College before getting a prestigious place studying Musical Theatre at the Mountview Academy, the first wheelchair user to study there.
“It was quite a learning curve for everyone,” she laughs. “They’ve now moved to a new purpose-built building in Peckham.”
Does that make Amy a bit of a trailblazer then?
“Ha, more like a Guinea pig I would say,” Amy continues. “Although, it’s strange to think back on those times and how hard it was starting out. I remember when I left Mountview I couldn’t get a job anywhere. My agent would say there’s no roles for disabled actors and I would say can’t it just be a normal role and they just happen to be in a wheelchair. We were talking about this the other day, about how the industry feels completely different now but that also it wasn’t that long ago.
“As for being a trailblazer, I’m sure there were plenty of people like me doing their thing in the 60s and 70s, it’s just they were not so visible back then.”
She may be no trailblazer, but Amy is certainly making her way in the world a lot more visible.
‘Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me’ is at the Mercury Studio Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, September 22 to 24. For tickets go to mercurytheatre.co.uk or call 01206 573948.