Eva Edo’s plays celebrate the unheard stories and lives of young people and women.
Her previous plays include Tiger Mum and Looked After Children which was shortlisted for the 2015 Alfred Fagon Award. In 2019, Eva was commissioned to write a verbatim inspired piece about refugee and asylum experienced women. In 2020, Eva won the RSL Literature Matters award to support the development of her new project A Mother’s Courage.
Tell us what you do and why?
I’m a writer for the stage and screen although I’m about to also direct my first short film. For many years I juggled my legal and creative careers but in 2019 I decided to focus on pursuing my creative interests because I love telling unheard stories and giving a voice to others.
You were recently awarded the RSL Literature Matters Award 2020 to develop your play A Mother’s Courage. Congratulations! Tell us what the play is about?
It’s a verbatim inspired piece about black mothers raising sons in Britain today. It will explore the impact of youth violent crime through the eyes of mothers. It will also be a celebration of mothers as protectors and enablers.
How did it feel to be recognised for your work at this early stage of development?
I’m really happy being an RSL Literature Matters Awards winner and that the RSL have chosen to support the development of A Mother’s Courage. It gives the project and the experiences of its womxn participants the recognition they deserve. The award also allows me the time and space to focus and reflect on the project – I need to get this right!
What inspired you to share these stories?
As a black mother and a creative, I’m always interested in what’s happening in our communities. I’ve long been frustrated by what I describe as the “silent loss” of young men to youth violent crime and other ills in our society. By and large, I don’t think the voice of the mothers of these young men is heard unless sensationalised in the press and this is my way of changing that situation and the narrative.
What can we expect from the final piece?
I’m identifying and interviewing participants over the next couple of months. This development process will allow me to interview mothers and work closely with them on the script which they’ll have an opportunity to influence. Therefore, I’m really hoping that the final piece will be a truthful reflection of the voice and experiences of mothers.
Recently, as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests, more conversations are being had about systemic racism and structural inequalities that Black Britons face. How has the Black British experience informed and shaped your work? Have recent events caused you to think any differently?
As a Black British creative my work is continuously informed by the Black British experience. My work has always celebrated the stories of black womxn and young people who are at the heart of what I do. The BLM protests have served to shine a light on our communities’ experiences and I suppose have made my work more relevant for some in the wider creative industry. However, for me, it’s business as usual – telling stories that are influenced by and reflect the Black British experience in all of its forms.
Do you think as a result of what’s happening at the moment, there will be a real long-lasting change in how Black playwrights and performers are received in theatre and literature spaces?
I really hope there will be positive change to include all parts of the creative industry being willing to commission and support our work. Also, that we are fully represented at all levels within the industry to include senior decision making roles because without this the work produced will continue to be unreflective of the diverse society that is Britain.
What advice can you give to other aspiring writers, playwrights, and performers?
Please don’t wait for permission to tell your stories and make work, just get on and do it!
Who are the people that inspire you?
Where do I start?! My dad for teaching me “if something is hard, pour water on it and make it soft”. In other words – never give up! All those creative womxn who have come before me and forged a path. And right now I’m loving the work of Bernadine Evaristo whose writing speaks to me as it encapsulates all that is to be a Black British womxn.
If you are a mother and interested in participating in A Mother’s Courage, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.