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.
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.