As an upstart 17 year old I did the infamous Creative Writing course at Victoria University with Bill Manhire. I got an A for my poetry portfolio which meant quite a lot a the time, being so young. But then I lost confidence and never really tried to get any poetry published.
I also had the drama bug and, while I was attending University in Wellington and Dunedin, managed to fit a little bit of coursework around a frenetic schedule of theatre making. This was a not a great way to get good marks or finish a degree. The one year I decided to limit my acting I got straight As across my arts courses but my heart wasn’t in it and I never finished my degree.
Drama school was the right place for me at the right time, I loved my time at The New Zealand Drama School (1990-91). After graduation I had a solid young-actor career and did a range of theatre, devised theatre, radio, TV, playback theatre and short films; plus script development workshops and a bit of script reading. I was good enough that I didn’t need a second job.
Highlights include: Dolls House, Circa Theatre; 12th Night, Circa and Depot; Comedy of errors, Circa; Unidentified Human Remains, Circa; Fallout, TVNZ.
Being an actor was good but I become a lot more interested in scripts - sourcing the vision rather than interpreting it. I started my first full length play in 1992 and I have never really stopped.
I moved to Australia and did a Grad Dip in Swinburne in Writing and learned about a new form of writing called ‘hyper text’ or ‘electronic’ writing. I was fascinated and produced a number of ambitious creative and theoretical works in the late 90s, while still writing plays. About this time I also got involved in the making of websites - my day job ever since.
At the turn of the Millennium I moved to London. While still writing plays I also branched out into learning about screen writing resulting in a number of film scripts. I also spent a number of years trying to write fiction at this point, but can’t say I ever really found it as fulfilling as drama - and it takes a lot more time, so my rate of production while having a full time job and a family, dropped.
While I was writing fiction I also started writing pieces about cycling and then my ‘blog to book’ Balance. The attraction of this at the time was simply to see something on a page in public - I could write a good blog in a couple of sittings.
I never really stopped writing poetry over many many years but about this time (2015) I started to take it a little more seriously again and have enjoyed getting into the contemporary poetry scene in the UK.
And I am still writing plays - the place where I feel most at home. However I would write an extended piece of non-fiction/creative non-fiction like Balance in a heart beat; currently I am seriously considering what my next piece will be. The lesson here was that my ‘hobby’ writing was better than what I thought was the ‘real’ writing at the time. And while I was doing all that I continue to write plays - one every few years now.