Last week I met up with playwright, Rosemary Jenkinson, in The Mac as final rehearsals for the play began.
My chat with Rosemary was very casual and informal as we talked about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 70’s, being Civil Servants, and her being a cougar ( ok, not really, but we did laugh about the idea of it!)
I had the press release in my hand, which talked about a Green MLA, GM Crops, Politics, Potatoes and Sex, so my first question had to be about green issues.
So why green issues? Is that something that you are passionate about?
It’s not something I’m overly passionate about, but it is something we should be aware of. The environment is very much a 21st century thing isn’t it. It’s like the religion of this century and we really need to look at the bigger picture and the planet we live on.
And Politics as well, is that influenced by you growing up in Belfast in the 70’s?
I suppose being from Belfast, politics is something that’s always there. In the play there are a lot of political references, you have to deal with explosive subjects sometimes, they get a reaction.
What’s this about Planet Belfast incorporating some technical elements making it a unique theatrical experience?
Haha the mystery of the top secret theatrical experience! It’s all very secret, but I can tell you it’s all very multi layered and textured, with abstract images which link the past and the present. You’ll have to come and see the play to see what it’s all about.
I asked Rosemary if The Mac had changed things a bit for local playwrights and for Belfast theatre.
The Mac is a great space, but the arts is still a very underfunded area in Northern Ireland and we are pretty much at the bottom of the ladder for funding. With this project I was lucky enough to be commissioned by the great Tinderbox production company. They are great to work with and always want to try something a bit different, hence the theatrical experience.
How did you get into becoming a playwright?
I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until my late 20’s early 30’s I decided it was time to really get this thing started. I guess it’s like most people, it was just a natural progression to that point, but there’s also that fear of failure and what if I wasn’t successful and it didn’t work out. Sometimes you just have to take the chance and go for it.
What was your first job?
Oh, that’s a while ago, I was a waitress, in Oklahoma, America, I was travelling around when I was 18. I was also a Civil Servant in Belfast for a short while.
What’s your favourite play?
Entertaining Mr Sloan, it’s a bit like Mrs Robinson, the older woman and the younger guy, I love it. A bit of a cougar!
What is your favourite movie?
Oh that’s a hard question! I’ve never been asked that before! Gothic, yes it would have to be Gothic a horror film directed by Ken Russell, starring Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron. It’s all very bizarre and off the wall, with lots of drug taking!
What’s your favourite quote?
‘Youth is wasted on the young’ by Oscar Wilde, No actually I’m going to create my own, Education is wasted on the young!! When you are at school you really don’t know what you want in life, it’s not until you get a bit older that things start falling into place. That’s why it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I really knew what I wanted to do.
Are you Backin Belfast?
Of course, Belfast is a great city and I’m proud of where I’m from.
Planet Belfast is on until 2nd March Upstairs at The Mac. Tickets are currently from £12 and can be purchased from The Mac Box Office or online at