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Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths: ‘Mixed-race identity is not reflected in theatre, so I wanted to explore that’

Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths. Photo: Michael Wharley Writer and actor Indigo Griffiths. Photo: Michael Wharley

Actor Indigo Griffiths started writing to address the lack of roles for mixed-race performers. She tells Giverny Masso about her first full-length play, Passing, which is to receive a rehearsed reading on a West End stage as part of the Masterclass Trust’s Pitch Your Play competition.

How did you get into theatre?
Theatre has always been something I’ve done. As a kid I was always in youth groups and I knew early on I wanted to be an actor. I studied drama and English literature at the University of East Anglia, which gave me an amazing grounding. I then did a postgraduate course at Drama Studio London, which I graduated from in 2016. Since then I’ve been working as an actor, before I started writing.

What inspired you to start writing?
I left drama school and was essentially not working much, but I was always auditioning. I was a bit naive at drama school and maybe I was lulled into a false sense of security. I was never seen for parts that were written for a mixed-race actor but instead went for black or white parts. I wanted to write for mixed-race actors and explore what having a mixed-race identity means. A huge part of my identity is rooted in that, but it’s not reflected in the theatre.

Tell me about Passing?
Passing is the first full-length play I’ve written. It’s part of a trilogy of mixed-race themed plays I have been working on. It’s set in 1940s Chicago and is about the lives of three mixed-race siblings. The play explores how lives change when you make the decision to pass as a white person. Passing as a concept is something that fascinates me.

How did you find out about Pitch Your Play?
I must have seen it on Twitter. I remember being really excited – there are a lot of opportunities for new writing, but less so for bigger plays. I consider this to be a bigger play because it has a big cast and is a period piece. Having all the support from the Masterclass team and being able to have the reading on a West End stage felt like a real opportunity to get my foot in the door. As a writer, in terms of actually getting your play on, it often feels a bit like a closed shop.

CV Indigo Griffiths

Agent: Emma Engers Associates
Training: Drama and English at University of East Anglia (2012-15); acting at Drama Studio London (2015-16)
First professional role: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with Shakespeare in the Squares tour around London squares (2017)

Passing is having a staged reading at Theatre Royal Haymarket in London as part of the Masterclass Pitch Your Play Scheme on November 23. More information is available here

Winners of Theatre Royal Haymarket playwriting competition announced

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