Alumni Spotlight

Margaret Perry - Playwright

26 Sep 2019
Margaret Perry, BA 2013

Margaret Perry is fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where her play, ‘Collapsible’, a raw, witty study of one woman’s journey into disintegration, opened to rave reviews. Her previous work, ‘Porcelain’ was staged by The Abbey Theatre in 2018 and was hailed by the theatre as “an important piece of new writing from a brilliant, new Irish playwright”. The UCC graduate is currently London-based where she is making her mark on the British stage, tackling themes of gender, identity and navigating life in her own innovative, form-busting style.

Margaret’s time in university paved the way for her to become the award-winning playwright that she is today. Her days as a Drama and Theatre Studies student allowed her to dip into the academic, practical and creative sides of the industry and opened her mind to the idea that there is much more to theatre than just acting alone;

“The course showed me how many pathways there are if you want to work in theatre and the arts. I always knew I wanted to be a writer and that I liked theatre, but I hadn’t connected the two until I did Drama and Theatre Studies”.

“I didn’t realise people who weren’t Shakespeare wrote plays when I started college, never less that it might be something I could do!”

Margaret’s time studying at UCC proved instrumental to her career. Dr Ger Fitzgibbon introduced her to the technique of taking apart and looking at the nuts and bolts of what makes a play, a technique she still uses. Two other major sources of inspiration and encouragement for Margaret, came in the forms of Dr Bernie Cronin and Dr Róisín O’Gorman.

Margaret has many vivid memories of the university, particularly staging her first play with the Dramat Society as part of a short play night. While she recollects the play itself as being “very odd and probably cringey”, she still remembers the experience with fondness.

“One of my best friends directed it and we had an absolute ball mucking about trying to make art in the lovely fail-safe environment of the Granary Theatre”.  

It’s hardly surprising that the Dramat Society featured heavily in Margaret’s UCC journey, giving her an opportunity to sample the different aspects of theatre, such as acting, writing and producing.

To the Arts students out there, Margaret has some advice; “Don’t get freaked out when people ask you what the hell you’re going to do with an Arts degree. You’re going to forge your own path and that’s scary but also really exciting”.

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