Perri Ann Barley

Perri Ann Barley

When did you first realise you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always loved writing but when I was asked to write a pantomime for a charity event 10 years ago, I loved it and received great feedback. It inspired me to do more, branching out into writing plays, short and full length, and even a screenplay for a short film. This was all still as a hobby initially but after several life-changing and traumatic events in the space of a few years, writing was my saviour, therefore I decided I wanted to do it for a living.

Which writer, past or present, do you most admire?

So many to choose from. I’ve always loved Victoria Wood, her style of comedy. Being able to make someone laugh, but then make them cry the next minute. The mix of comedy, drama and real-life observations truly inspires me.

What was your first published (or performed) credit as a writer?

Aside from having 10 pantomimes performed locally, my first credit with being a playwright was a comedy murder mystery called A Performance to Die For. This was a big success for The Blue Light Theatre Company who managed to raise lots of money for charity (I donated my fee to charity also). I also wrote a screenplay for a short film called The Importance of Early CPR for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. This went global and even came fourth in an international competition in the US.

Which piece of writing work are you most proud of?

I recently wrote a short play, again commissioned by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, about neurodiversity. It is called What is Normal? and about a young man and his struggles with ADHD. It was performed at a large event and was very well received. The audience were in tears at the end and many came up to me and told me how brilliant it was and also that I had captured everything perfectly. They were going through similar experiences with their children and it really helped to reassure them as they went on their long journey – just like the young man in the script. I have been since asked to take this to another group to perform and have been commissioned to write another three plays about other subjects since.

Who or what inspires you to write?

My family. My friends. My dog. Life around me inspires me to write everyday.

How do you switch off when you’re not writing?

It’s very difficult to switch off completely. I always have a notepad for when an idea strikes me. However, I do a lot of theatre so that takes my mind off things for a while.

Which one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I am still only at the beginning of my journey myself so probably not the best to give much advice at the moment. All I would say is to keep writing at every opportunity, encourage a local theatre company to read your work. It helps to hear it read out loud. Join lots of writing support groups on social media, you can get lots of advice and opportunities.

Why are you a member of WGGB?

As I am gaining a little more success and hiring out/being commissioned to write plays etc. I felt it would be a good idea to join WGBB, it’s been fantastic for getting advice regarding all the legal/copyright ‘ins and outs’ as I’m not very good with all that.

Perri Ann Barley is a scriptwriter/playwright from York, North Yorkshire, UK. Perri Ann is currently the resident writer for Blue Light Theatre York and has been for 10 years now, writing a brand new pantomime every year and also several full length plays. She has also written short plays and a short film for Yorkshire Ambulance Service which have been used to help raise awareness on various subjects and has also written bespoke short plays for other groups in and around Yorkshire. She is currently working with London Playwrights on their Supported Writers Programme after being selected from an open script submission.


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