Staff Profiles

Virginia Murray


I like to write about people who cause trouble.

As a writer for the screen, Virginia Murray is drawn to stories that explore relationships and magical events and, perhaps most importantly, conflict. ‘I'd say this to a student,’ she says, ‘write about someone who you feel has thwarted you or somebody or something that has made you really angry.’ This approach is reminiscent of Stanislavski, the creator of ‘the method’, where the actor draws on inner resources to construct a character. It is no surprise to find that part of Virginia's training is as a director. This background offers a craft-based, hands-on approach to writing.

One of the age-old debates or assumptions about writing is that it must come from experience. Virginia is more inclined to privilege observation ‘and a certain ear’. Script writers – for stage or screen – need to look and listen, more than reflect. ‘Maybe where life experience comes in’, she says, ‘is that as we get older we tend to become less self-absorbed and more aware of the outside world.

Virginia writes at her desk, by the light of her favourite ‘incandescent’ lamp. She starts with pen and paper, but is most at home writing on screen. ‘I write because I want to be surprised by myself,’ she says. As a script writer she is very aware of issues of genre. ‘I like to write freely,’ she says, ‘but have the kind of genre in the back of my mind so that it shapes the work unconsciously.

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