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Alys Metcalf: Finding a space to be productive in

By 17 November 2021No Comments

“Wasn’t it the poet T.S. Eliot who’d go for a walk around the park and re-enter his house as if it was his office space? Well, I tried doing that and I just didn’t believe it.”

“I needed somewhere I could take myself more seriously and be around people with a work ethic – people who if I was looking at them working really hard, I’d feel really guilty.”

Alys Metcalf is a writer and actor for theatre and TV, and a part time speech coach. 

As well as just needing an environment she could focus in – one that would enable her to delineate between work and life again – she found she was spending “way too much on tea and coffee.”

So, in the latter half of 2020, she decided to sign up for a Creative Works membership.

Unlike T.S. Eliot, many of us can’t trick
ourselves into taking our home workspace seriously.

The journey to becoming a professional writer

When Alys left drama school she submitted a play she’d written to the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme, which she describes as a “really good training ground” for becoming a scriptwriter. Her application was successful and she was invited onto the course. 

But despite finishing the programme, she wasn’t quite ready to be a writer. Instead, she pursued acting and featured in shows such as The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End.

Then a friend who wanted to produce and act in a play approached Alys to see if she’d be interested in writing something. They located some funding and the play went on tour. 

Following its success, Alys teamed up with her best friend Roxy, who also has a Creative Works membership. The pair began writing and acting in comedy plays together.

“The plays got the ball rolling on the writing front: people started asking us to pitch some ideas for TV shows. We had some ideas in development with film and TV companies – none of which got picked up – and did a few shows together at the Soho Theatre.”

Alys and Roxy eventually decided they wanted to focus on their own projects and went their separate ways professionally. “Most of the time writing is pretty solitary,” says Alys.

“You have to come up with an idea which takes a lot of going on walks and berating yourself – then you’d be in isolation if it weren’t for places like Creative Works.”

Caption: Alys also has a role in a new BBC drama.

Writing during the lockdowns 

Alys experienced a creative boost in the first lockdown; the change of pace took a bit of the pressure off. The “rat race” came to a grinding halt and the worry that “if I don’t move fast someone else is going to think of that idea” didn’t seem as pressing . 

“I wouldn’t describe the lockdown as inspiring at the time but the after effect is that you’ve given your brain a break. The lockdown gave me some time to slow down and marinate and go for walks.”

“It wasn’t until the Autumn of 2020 that I really got myself in gear, which is when I started going to Creative Works again. I got an acting job around the same time as well,” she adds.

Line of Duty fans may have seen the beginners guide to Line of Duty comedy video that Alys wrote in 2020, which went viral and was nominated for a Lovie Award. Voiced by Diane Morgan (Philomena Cunk), it sums up series one to five and was designed to get viewers up to speed ahead of the release of series 6.

2021 has been an eventful year for Alys in terms of work.

In September, Alys’ play, Leopards, opened artistic director Chris Haydon’s inaugural season at the Rose Theatre in Kingston to a socially distanced audience. 

It’s her “largest full-scale production to date.”

She’s also got comedy-drama ideas in development with a handful of TV production companies and has secured some funding from Film Cymru Wales.

So with so much going on, does she have time to breathe?

“You look really busy and sound really impressive when the things are actually out there but actually the real work is all the downtime when you have nothing to show,” she admits.

Alongside her script writing and acting, Alys also helps people craft speeches, from best man and maid of honour speeches to business presentations and Ted Talks. 

“I also help companies with their delivery and writing skills in terms of prioritising key information up top and brevity, clarity and relevance, etcetera.”

  Alys is a big fan of Creative Works’ breakfast buffet. 

Do you want to commission a comedy/drama writer? Are you looking for an actor to bring your script to life? Or have you got an important speech coming up and need a little help?

You can reach out to Alys Metcalf via her agents:
Writing agent: Georgina Ruffhead at The Haworth Agency
Acting agent: Becky Williams at Hatch Talent Spotlight CV

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