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Emilia playwright: ‘Stop seeing the writer as God – theatre should be collaborative’

Author Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Photo: Hannah Yates Author Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Photo: Hannah Yates
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Emilia writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm has urged the industry to “dismantle” the hierarchy involved in creating productions and stop seeing the “playwright as God”.

Her comments were made as part of a panel event at the Women and Power festival at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Lloyd Malcolm said: “This assumption, particularly within this country, of the playwright as God, as king, as the author – I find it really tricky.

“As a playwright you’re supposed to be at the top of this pyramid, maybe with the director a little bit higher up than you, but I’m really uncomfortable with that, because what I enjoy more as a creator is to be in a room with a bunch of people working it out together.”

She added: “I think that structure needs to be dismantled and we need to think of a new structure for how we create things.”

Lloyd Malcolm said that the team behind Emilia, which originated at the Globe and is currently running at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End, tried to address this in the way they created the piece.

Emilia review at Vaudeville Theatre, London – ‘Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play roars into the West End’

According to the writer, this included having three actresses taking on the role of Emilia so that there was no one lead part, having a collaborative rehearsal room and putting together a creative team before the play was written.

“Here I am as a playwright with a play, published, and it’s got my name on it. But in terms of the structure we have in this country of how we do that, I’m really uncomfortable with it, because we made this play together and it’s an ensemble piece for a reason, there’s no lead part,” she said.

She added: “Theatre is a collective endeavour, it’s not just one person writes something and then people put it on, it’s the stage management, it’s the people behind the scenes, so I think we need to start honouring this process better.”

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