So guys, tell us about your brainchild, “it’s not cute anymore”?
It’s a comedy play about giving up on your dreams, and how that can sometimes be more of a relief than a tragedy. We wrote it when we were both at a bit of a crossroads about whether to keep pursuing a career as writers, or to find a more stable, secure 9-5 job. The writing is feminine and vulgar – think Miss Piggy and Goldie Hawn!
The show has been described as a “contemporary reboot of absolutely fabulous written by Lena Dunham”. The real question is who is Patsy and who is Eddie?
Within the play, Clare’s character (Niamh) would love to think she’s Patsy – an unbreakable broad. Bel’s character (Mimi) is definitely more like Eddie, she’s like a bull in a china shop. Like Eddie and Patsy, Mimi and Niamh are two ghoulish characters who need nobody but each other.
Since the play was inspired by you both giving up on your dreams of becoming writers, and revolves mainly around you both fighting to “make it” in the writers world, has creating the play motivated you (both) to keep following that career path?
Absolutely, the play has opened up a lot of doors for us. Our plan has always been to write for TV, but we realised nobody was going to hand us that opportunity. We would have been waiting for years for someone to give us permission to write a script, instead we just wrote it, booked a venue, and put it on, and it’s gone from there.
How has your industry experience as women shaped you so far?
Just 16% of screenwriters in the UK are women, so we’re ready to unapologetically barge our way to the front. While it’s depressing that there are so few women, we’ve found that it means a lot of people in the industry are desperate for female voices. We used to feel disproportionately grateful whenever anyone in the industry expressed interest in us, now we’ve shifted our mentality to remind ourselves that it’s because our voice is unique.
"Just 16% of screenwriters in the UK are women, so we’re ready to unapologetically barge our way to the front."
Do you have any regrets within your professional lives? Is there anything you would do differently?
Clare: I used to be very embarrassed to be seen trying, so I never shared any of my writing with anyone. I call it Butterfly Syndrome, I didn’t want anyone to see me as a caterpillar, only when I’d emerged fully formed and beautiful! I always knew I wanted to write creatively, but I studied journalism back in Australia because I thought it was safer. In retrospect, I’d probably not have bothered with university at all.
Bel: Both my Chinese and English backgrounds place a lot of importance on deferring to authority. I would be less in awe of people who seemed to me to be the gatekeepers of the industry. I’d also teach the younger me to be more disciplined – reading and watching other people’s work is useful but is ultimately a distraction from creating your own.
What advice would you give to other young women who dream of working in the writing industry?
Be assertive, be kind, and be prepared to work hard.
Give us your top five favourite writers?
Gina Riley, Jane Turner, Jennifer Saunders, Caroline Aherne, Daisy May Cooper
Did you have any formal training as actresses before producing this play? Or does practice make perfect?
None at all! We were both in musicals at school and tried out for drama schools when we graduated, but were rightly rejected. We’re definitely more comedy performers than actors, but performing this play so many times has helped us get into the characters’ heads, which we’ve applied to writing the TV pilot.
Where can we go to watch your play?
We’re at Cowgate, Underbelly Edinburgh every day until August 26th.
Where can we cyber stalk you?
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
Finally, what are your favourite quotes from the play?
"Feminism is not a fashion statement."
"I’m a Miss Honey in the streets, Miss Trunchbull in the sheets."
"Having sex to My Chemical Romance is not chemsex."