Leading up to the Northern Girls performances, Aidan, from ARCADE, is sitting down with each of the writers to find out a bit more about them, their work and what they might do next. Amy-Kay Pell is the third of the four writers from the Northern Girls project.
If you would prefer to listen to this interview, please click the video above.
Hi Amy-Kay! How are you doing today?
Yeah good thank you.
So today, we’re going to be talking about Northern Girls, and more specifically your involvement in it. Prior to this how did you see yourself as an artist, what was the definition you’d give yourself?
Yeah, I think I've probably given myself the definition of performer. And I do want to go into acting, that's kind of a big passion of mine and I also sing and dance. And then I directed a couple of times as well.
Bit of an all-rounder in some respects. So, if it's your first time writing an original piece?
Yeah, so I did English literature at college. From then I kind of picked up my own kind of style and whatnot, and just kind of recently probably over COVID, I started to kind of try and do a few things myself, but obviously it's a bit difficult to kind of motivate yourself and you have to find things to write about. So getting into northern girls was absolutely brilliant, like a real purpose to it, and a real kind of community around it as well.
Yeah, sounds great. What has inspired your writing for Northern Girls, what is the sort of a focus of your piece.?
The focus of my piece, as it is at the moment, is probably kind of the stereotypes of the North, generally, and women so together as northern girls also just as northern people and as women generally, and all the stereotypes or the kind of things that people believe that we are, not everybody obviously. Then taking that kind of almost cynical comic effect on it. I think that's going to be my focus.
Nice, sounds very interesting. To talk a little bit more about your work in how you approach it. Is there a specific sort of artistic process for you have or sort of way that you set out to create this piece?
Yeah, for me, for writing, I'm still quite new to it obviously. I found that a lot of the exercises that we did with Hannah, within the workshops, were very helpful. By using outside stimuluses, you know, like pictures, or, literature, or things like that, like that really helps me to kind of hone in and kind of spark an idea as well. That's kind of my process at the moment and the easiest and, most freeing way to work for me, I think.
Are there any pieces of literature or images that have inspired this piece?
Yeah well, kind of. The piece rolled off the back of another one that we did, that I did, that was based on kind of how women in 19th century, have not really changed very much to the way they are now. And that was kind of sparked of by Pride and Prejudice and that era of writing.
Very interesting. Probably comes from your English literature background as well, I guess.
So then moving forward from Northern girls is there a sort of direction that you think your writing is going to take? Has it given you any ideas on how you sort of want to develop as a writer?
Yeah, I mean, just develop and do more work. Obviously, by gaining contacts and stuff and finding opportunities through them. Also, taking it past just the monologue or maybe trying to develop into something bigger like a short play or a short story or something like that to just try and move on to that next level.
Yeah, definitely. I think a monologue is always the best place to, to start with something like a play because it almost gives you an opportunity to do a character study almost, and then move forward to that.
When it's come to actually the process of Northern girls, what would you. I mean you've spoke a little bit about sort of the guidance and the connections you've made but what would you say you've enjoyed most about, the process?
I think what I've enjoyed most recently and what, maybe I didn't expect to see from it, especially during the kind of COVID times. Definitely because social distancing, it's not quite as, together, together, but with there just being kind of four girls, and then Hannah and Rach, it was very kind of intimate. I felt like, even though I was new, I was still supporting everyone, and they were supporting me and there was that kind of real freedom, like flow of ideas around the room which was amazing. Then obviously to get the kind of insight from Hannah and from Rach as well. That's not something I've had really for writing. That was really amazing as well.
Yeah, I think that's great. I guess it has maybe given you the opportunity that now when you continue to write. If you choose to do so. You've almost got those people that you can go back to and get feedback from.
What would you say a Northern Girl is?
I think, a northern girl is probably in kind of buzzwords terms would be proud and strong. And self-reliant as well. To be enough to make it for yourself and I feel like that's very much the mentality and the knowledge if you are going to get somewhere. It's that feeling of not relying on other people, which is probably not the best thing, you know. You need other people to work, but I feel … so yeah, I think proud is definitely the word I would use.
Yeah, I think that's, I think that's a good conversation to have. But, yeah, definitely there is that sort of, people feel like they have to be independent to succeed because it's almost like there's not as much support here but clearly I think this project is definitely showing that there are other people here that you can collaborate with.
And can you give us a little preview of your piece?
I think it’s going to be a little bit, almost satirical, in that kind of comedy effect where its not all true but it's just a bit kind of exploring what people think of Northern Girls and obviously that's not everybody but we're pretending it is.
Well, I look forward to seeing it! Thank you for joining me today.
Thank you it's been brilliant.
Image credit: Matthew Cooper