Meet the mentors: Eve Nicol

For their latest project, Press 2 For Help, the Citizens Theatre Young Co. have been working with professional playwrights to develop a series of theatrical shorts. The varied pieces they've created all share the common thread of exploring mental health issues faced by young people. 

In this blog series we're chatting to the writing mentors on the project and learning more about their creative process. We already spoke with Martin O'Connor, and today we're catching up with Eve Nicol:

Writing mentor Eve Nicol

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your own journey into writing?

Online role-playing games got me excited to write every day as a teenager. I didn't start taking my writing seriously until others did. I stumbled into a playwriting module at uni led by Dominic Hill and Douglas Maxwell. Their interest made me feel I had something to say. I've been blessed with inspiring mentors throughout my career. I hope to be that cheerleader for someone else one day.

I still refer to my work as fan fiction. I still steal from and squeal over my niche passions. Except now I don't have to do it in secret from the computer in my parent's basement.

You were an original member of the Citizens Theatre Young Co. when it launched in 2005. How does it feel to return as a mentor and what have you enjoyed about working with the group?

A bunch of the OG Young Co are established in our chosen fields. It's terrific to see peers succeed.

It's been 15 years since I was in the Young Co - yet I'm categorised as a "young writer" in professional circles. I've enjoyed hearing from actual young people. What's changed in the last decade? What's stayed the same? Projects like 'Press 2 for Help' allow young people to speak for themselves.

Did you use any particular processes or tools when working with Young Co on developing the work?

You can't beat a daily newspaper. The Guardian's round-up of photographs from around the world provides a regular feed of powerful images. Then take a pair of scissors and a black marker to the thing. As championed by Austin Kleon, "blackout poetry" can even make dry Wiki entries into weep-worthy poetry. Try out this generator yourself online.

Do you feel Covid has impacted or changed the way you create new work?

It was surprisingly positive to be forced to pause making live shows. The change prompted me to create slowly and deeply. I now reject the industry's demand for fast and shallow creativity. It causes burnout and lacklustre shows. Audiences deserve great nights out that raise their spirits rather than drag them down with the exhausted cynicism of their author.

What can audiences expect from Press 2 For Help?

I hope we can deliver a bold, energetic roller coaster ride that leaves an audience with a hopeful glow in their heart.

The Young Co. are showcasing their dramatic shorts on the 25th & 26th March. Book your tickets via our website and join us for a thought-provoking and entertaining evening of new writing.

Photos by Jassy Earl.