Introducing Frances Poet: IASH/Traverse Creative Fellow 2018

Frances Poet

Frances Poet will be the IASH/Traverse Creative Fellow for 2018.

We caught up with Frances ahead of her fellowship here and asked about what drew her to the fellowship with IASH and the Traverse Theatre. We also wanted to find out a little bit about the play she will be working on during her fellowship. Here are Frances' thoughts:

A friend recommended I apply for the IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship. I had dismissed it because of the incredible calibre of previous fellows - this was for proper playwrights and not for me. But my pal had planted a seed in my head and the prospect of being associated with IASH and the first-class brains it attracts from around the world felt too exciting not to grasp at it. What a gift for a playwright hungry for creative and intellectual stimulus. 

And I am hungry. Having begun forging a career as a playwright with two infant children, my youngest starting at school was supposed to be a brave new world for me, able to hide away from the world at last and write, write, write. The trouble with hiding away is that when the ideas are written, you need new ideas and you don’t find those staring into your laptop. So I have high hopes for my time at IASH, for the interesting people I will meet, the ideas we can share and develop and, of course, the office where I can apply all this soul-feeding stimulus and write, write, write.   

I am bringing an idea with me and one that I feel I will need considerable support to write as it is perhaps the most personal thing I have written to date. I want to write a play that tackles the not so small subjects of birth, death and pain. The play will draw upon the experience of watching my father die and mine and my friends’ experiences of birthing our children. The very personal and painful nature of the subject matter makes me more than a little fearful about realising the idea. But I hope IASH will give me the opportunity to view these experiences through a philosophical, moral and scientific lens and I am determined to be fearless with it. I intend to ask big questions about the human condition and the nature of pain in a world that often seeks to eliminate it. I want to interrogate whether pain is an essential part of being alive. And I want to do that by telling four stories of transition that are full of vitality, humour and humanity.

You can also find out more about Frances and her work in this Scotsman profile and recent Guardian article. She is on Twitter @FrancesPoet.