Writer Wednesday’s back, and this week we chatted with She Writes Associate Artist, Emma Gibson.
How would you describe your writing?
“My writing is often informed by place. I like to explore big, existential ideas, and often draw on research. Reflecting on my work recently I realised a common theme in most of my produced plays is women who are trapped – whether literally or metaphorically. That feels very apt for the play I am working on now. While it’s not about COVID, it has a strong sense of containment, claustrophobia and the isolation that many of us have experienced.”
What are you working on right now?
“The play I’m working on is called ‘Bluestone College or the Last Woman Put to Death’. It’s set in Pentridge, telling the story of two different women in two different time periods. In present day, Emily is a young university student who is trying to find her way in life. Her story interweaves with that of Jean Lee, who was the last woman executed in Australia. Jean was hung at Pentridge in 1951 and is still buried there. The play explores ideas of containment and incarceration, as well as violence against women and safety in public spaces. As a place, Pentridge is a looming presence. I live nearby, so I’ve been walking along the trail of bluestone curb to the old prison for my permitted hour of exercise during lockdown!”
What have you gained from the She Writes experience?
“It’s been great being part of She Writes. It’s been nourishing to spend time (virtually) with wonderful theatre people during all the strangeness of COVID. We have also had brilliant playwrights and practitioners deliver workshops (it was in a masterclass with Jane Bodie that I first had the idea to set a play in Pentridge spanning two different time periods). I have also been paired with a dramaturg, Brooke, to support the development of this new work.”