On the Couch with Kieran Hurley

Kieran Hurley AAR On the CouchWho is Kieran Hurley?
I’m a playwright, occasional performer and sometime screenwriter from Scotland.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
What like as a job? To be honest I’ve thought about this loads and I still don’t really know. For most of my adult life I’ve been terrified of the idea of 9 to 5 job, but I do sometimes find myself daydreaming about what it’d be like to live a life just a little bit less chaotic and unpredictable than this one. Whatever I did, I’d want to be useful. When I get really frustrated with “the arts” is when I don’t have a sense of how what I’m doing is useful to people. That comes and goes.

Who inspires you and why?
My partner Julia Taudevin, who is also a writer and actor and theatre-maker. She’s the most courageous and inventive and generous artist I know. After 10 years or so of working together we’ve finally gotten around to launching a company for the work we make. It’s called Disaster Plan, and our first show is Julia’s amazing song and storytelling piece Move~Gluasad which we premiered on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland this year.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Shit where to start? End wealth inequality, put ownership and control of land into the hands of communities, end border violence, pay postcolonial reparations to the former British Empire, build a global economy that doesn’t destroy the planet like a cancer, eat the rich.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I mentioned the Isle of Lewis earlier and so sticking with that – I’ll say Scotland’s Western Isles are as beautiful as any part of the world you’ll ever find and, if you live where I do in Glasgow, totally accessible by land and sea. The islands each have their own distinct character so it’s weird to lump them in together but I couldn’t pick one out. You have to be prepared for rain and midges but if you get lucky you can find yourself amongst the most incredible mountains one minute and on a completely deserted silver beach the next. There really is nothing quite like it.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Depends which friends! If they’ve never been to Glasgow before then probably we’re taking a walk up the Necropolis – literally “the city of the dead” – an old cemetery in the city’s east end from which you get great views of the city, visiting the mighty Glasgow Cathedral on the way.

What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m behind on like three separate deadlines so absolutely nothing I’m afraid. I’m looking forward to Kirstin Innes’ new novel Scabby Queen, so hopefully I’ll have freed things up a bit by the time that’s released.

What are you currently listening to?
When I’m writing I inevitably end up listening to old Mogwai records and recently it’s been Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will that’s being getting a lot of action. I’m enjoying Stormzy’s new album, and finally catching up with Kate Tempest’s The Book of Traps and Lessons from last year. I’m at an age where I frequently revisit records I grew up with that were definitive for me in some way, so I can also tell you on recent listening that In Utero is absolutely the greatest Nirvana album. Though since I have small kids what I’m actually listening to most is the Singing Kettle. Look them up. Banging tunes.

Happiness is?
Yes, sometimes, it really is!

What does the future hold for you?
The boring answer is I’m working on some new projects, some of which will see the light of day, some of which won’t but hopefully I’ll get a chance to share some of them with you one day. In bigger terms, what does the future hold, I dunno. We live in interesting, dangerous, unpredictable times and there’s a lot to play for. Maybe writing some more plays will fix it?

Kieran is the playwright of Traverse Theatre Company’s production of Mouthpiece – which will be presented at the Odeon Theatre, Norwood from 6 March as part of the 2020 Adelaide Festival. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Kieran Hurley (supplied)