splint: hello Molly, would you mind introducing yourself please?
Molly-Rose: Hello! My name is Molly-Rose Curran. I am an actor, writer and general creative cathy. I am 22, and I study Scriptwriting and Performance at UEA and I was born in Thornton Heath, Croydon.
splint: when did you know that you wanted to study script writing?
Molly-Rose: I started writing fiction from a very young age – mainly stories about me going to Hogwarts or kissing boys I fancied from the TV. I think the first script I ever wrote was this adaptation for a drama class in year 9, I actually found it the other day and it’s pretty interesting, lots of symbolism and anger. I do think that my main focus has always been acting so I didn’t come back to writing for a fairly long time after that… I went to The BRIT School in Croydon when I was 14 and did a lot of devising in that environment but it wasn’t until I was 17 that I sat down and wrote my first full length play. I was going to a college really far away from where I lived and every day I had this super long and tedious bus journey, I would go past this building called ‘Leo House’ and watch the same people outside, smoking. One day I came up with the idea for a play called ‘Lotus’, set in the smoking area of Lotus House it followed seven characters’ downfall, navigating themselves in the capitalist system. I think looking back on it it’s super angsty and messy but it was very pure and I still kind of love it. The idea came to me so organically and it was so exciting to write, I think from then on I knew I wanted to write plays.
splint: what a roller coaster ey? So, you recently lead and reinvented ‘FemFest’ at the UEA? Talk to us about why you did it and why you decided to change it from what it had been in the past…
Molly-Rose: FemFest is a feminist festival at UEA. Previously it was an evening of events based around the theme of feminism or what it’s like to be a woman, I always wanted to get involved and just felt that it was something that wasn’t getting the attention that it needed – feminism is so important, especially this year in my industry with what happened with the ‘me too’ movement it felt like there was no better year for me to step up and take on that responsibility. It feels hugely important to me, I feel very, very, very, passionate about it. It was ridiculous to me that it was being done in the way that it was and I just had so many ideas about events I wanted to run.
I also just want to point out that I had the most amazing team of women helping me make FemFest what it was. We had two events a day for a week – we had an original play performed, a craft your vulva workshop, a drama therapy workshop, the Big Fem Finale where one of our lecturers performed, we had ‘LOL’ the comedy night, a spoken word night and loads of other really incredible events.
Splint: you absolutely smashed it. Leading on from that I wanted to ask you, have you always been a feminist?
Molly-Rose: yes. I think so. I don’t think I am always a good feminist however…
splint: what is a good feminist?
Molly-Rose: I suppose someone who lives their life in the way… so someone who practises what they preach. I am getting a lot better at it but for example, you are in a conversation with someone and a misogynistic comment gets said/brought up. I wouldn’t necessarily pick them up on it because I can’t be bothered – and I think that makes me a bad feminist.
splint: sometimes I find myself thinking about conversations that I have had and only afterwards do I realise that some of what was being said was something that I didn’t agree with or they needed to be picked up on. I wanted to ask you was about your family and your roots – where do you think you got your creativity from?
Molly-Rose: my mum is a fucking fantastic Drama Therapist and has done really great things (including birthing me). She has always been a huge influence in my life, her brother and dad were both actors and she is an amazing performer / storyteller and that’s basically what we did throughout the whole of my childhood. I have thought a lot recently about the time I spent with my mum playing the piano and me just dancing around in a fairy costume – expressing myself constantly. Playing was hugely encouraged, every second I was awake was used to play, she was never pushy though, from being at the BRIT school I met a lot of people’s parents who were super pushy. My mum had experienced the industry when she was a child through her dad/brother and she didn’t want me to enter that scary world of stress and pressure unless I was totally sure I wanted it. She is so supportive and has allowed me to find my own way which has made me so much stronger, she is extremely inspiring, she has an amazing career and has helped so many people though drama/story telling.
splint: recently I have been been looking into Jane Arden and the work that she did in the 1960’s onwards, she created a radical feminist theatre group called ‘Holocaust’. She encouraged the use of drugs during the filming / rehearsal process, especially LSD. She had a revolutionary take on the world of theatre production and we were just wondering what your thoughts were on the use of drugs to further and enhance creativity and also the effects that this has on mental health/mental ill-health?
Molly-Rose: I think that you have to be a bit mad to have ideas that will push you to places where other people haven’t been. I know that my brain doesn’t work like other people’s brains and it means that the things I create are interesting to other people. In the creative industry you meet lots of really weird people but in fantastic ways – I think that is necessary to being creative. When your brain is wired differently, when you experience / feel things differently, it kind of feels like a duty to share that with the world. If you don’t share those thoughts then it can be very isolating, some of the most horrific things that I have gone through in my life have been made beautiful by the work that I have created. It allows it to be something else, something that exists outside of me, something that can help other people and be entertaining. So basically you have to be a bit mad to write things, I think you can tell when you see something if it hasn’t been written by a mad person because they are always really boring. You need to have a restlessness, desire and a passion – that can come from a place of desperation. That desperation often comes from a place of mental ill-health.
It’s like how people say that if communism actually came about then art would not be created anymore because people would be so happy in this utopian society. No one would make any art because there would be no need for it. Art is made to fight about something.
splint: what is up next for Molly-Rose?
Molly-Rose: I am currently in rehearsals for a production of ‘Wasted’ by Kate Tempest in which I am playing Charlotte (come and see it!). Later in the year I’m going on tour with Argonaut Theatre’s ‘Action at a Distance’ and I’m working on a project about sexual assault in the army… I’m also writing a play called ‘Happy Cafe’ about the two girls working at a fast food restaurant in London with a pretty suspect view on customer service/mindfulness. I want to write good plays and to act in good plays. I want to create things with good people. I think am incapable of doing anything else so that will happen regardless if it is good or not.
splint: what do you want to use splint for? And any other feminist based forums…
Molly-Rose: I have wanted to delete facebook for so long but it is forums like splint, wolf whistled and bossy that keep me on there. The strength that they give people is unbelievable, the fact that you know there are like minded women out there, who have your back is so reassuring – It’s like a platform for selfless sharing, such a brilliant forum for work and research too.
splint: ‘selfless sharing’ is the best phrase. Thank you so much for chatting to us today Mol, you’re so wonderful and I know you will be great and achieve the best things.