Empower Her* Voice Theatre Collective introduces… ‘Spotlight: Female-Identifying and Non-Binary Voices in Theatre.’ This is a new series of interviews, released monthly, to broadcast the emerging and established voices of female-identifying and non-binary creatives within theatre. EH*V Theatre Collective is run by Alice Chambers, who has been a wonderful EH*V member since June 2020.
Introducing Izzy Kaur Khatkar
Izzy Khatkar is a new playwright who was recently part of the Bush Theatre's West London Playwright Group. Her first piece was performed as part of Empower Her Voice’s first scratch night. She explores the complexities of mental health and relationships, especially within the South Asian community. She is soon to create a podcast series called 'Being British'.
What was your first experience watching theatre?
Like so many others probably when I was in primary school I saw a production of Jason and The Golden Fleece. However, I consider my first proper experience of theatre when I saw Mojo at The Harold Pinter Theatre. It was a great experience and I enjoyed the complex nature of the ensemble and their relationship to one another
What was the first play to make you want to write plays?
The first plays I ever read was Willy Russell's Blood Brothers and Caryl Churchill's Top Girl. I studied both at school and they had a huge impact on me. They both explore working-class experiences in such unique ways, both showing different aspects of the consequences and hardships women have when trying to achieve or survive
within an environment that does not favour them.
Why theatre for you? Why is it the right form for you?
I had never explored theatre until I entered for Bush Theatre's Playwrights Group. I would actively go to the theatre and read plays but never considered it as my creative medium.
However, since doing the mentorship and being part of that environment I realised that this is the truest medium to explore my ideas and experiences.
What influences your writing?
Lots of things influence my writing but in the most part I want to write stories and roles for South Asian Women. I want to show the complex nature and beauty in our experiences.
Often in most creative mediums, we are seen as demanding, submissive and just generally unimpressive characters. Yet I don't know a single SA woman in my family who isn't the most interesting, intelligent, funny and supportive individual. And I want to bring those women to the theatre.
Which playwrights have influenced you the most?
For myself Caryl Churchill and Anna Jordan are the two biggest influences in my writing. I enjoy their depth of exploration within female characters and love seeing the contrast in how women have progressed.
Are there ideas and themes that you keep coming back to?
Throughout my work I also go back to my community, I think because there are so many complex and unique stories within the SA community.
What was it like being part of the Bush scheme?
Bush Theatre's West London Playwrights Group was the first experience I had of writing theatre. It was a complete eye-opener I learnt so much about the writing process, formatting, industry and depth of theatre. But the most important thing I learned from this opportunity was that theatre is the best medium to push the boundaries especially with the space that you can use.
What are you writing next?
Currently, I am on a comedy writing mentorship so my focus has very much shifted onto screenwriting. However, I have been reading plays often as well as writing short plays for
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