Ed Harris

Ed is an award-winning playwright, radio dramatist and poet.  He was commissioned to write his first play, SUGARED GRAPEFRUIT for the Brighton Festival Fringe 2005. Ed has since been Writer-in-Residence at Chichester Festival Theatre. He was shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award in 2008 for his play NEVER EVER AFTER, and his new play, MONGREL ISLAND was commissioned by Soho Theatre and opened Steve Marmion’s first season as Artistic Director in July 2011.

For radio, Ed’s first commissioned play PORSHIA was broadcast in 2007 to widespread acclaim (including Radio Times/Time Out ‘Pick of the Week’, Daily Telegraph ‘Review of the Year’), and he has since been continuously under commission to BBC Radio 4. His fourth radio play, THE MOMENT YOU FEEL IT, was shortlisted for the 2010 Tinniswood Award, and he has just won the Writers’ Guild Award for his playTROLL. His first series broadcast in 2011.

Ed’s Hotbed play is called PIGLET. It is about an artist who buys a painting by one of the British Masters, intending to destroy it. He argues that its destruction will increase its true value to the world, therefore the value of art as a whole, because (as he’s about to learn for himself) you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.

Interview with Ed

What was the inspiration behind your play?

A childhood friend of mine got a place at Central St. Martins, but upon receiving the invitation, declined it and destroyed all his work. He never articulated why. I remember his annoyance when people would coo ‘Oh, you’re such an artist,‘ as if even acts of destruction, in the right hands, are inherently profound.

What is your greatest ambiton?

This. Just to write fiction for a living.

Who is your favourite writer(s)?

I don’t have a favourite anything really, but a couple of years ago a mate leant me some Daniil Kharms, who was a Russian Soviet Absurdist writer. Tiny micro-stories, most of them about half a page. He’s gotten under my skin, and he’s someone I read most days. And it’d be silly, in the context of discussing art and destruction, not to mention Kafka who famously requested all his works to be destroyed on his death.

When was the last time you laughed out loud and why?

I laugh a lot, even on my own. This morning, I woke myself up laughing. I think I must have dreams where my brain thinks it’s being terribly funny.

Reviews of Ed’s  work

Reviews for MONGREL ISLAND by ED HARRIS at Soho Theatre (until 6th August 2011):

Times (Dominic Maxwell): “A hell of a calling card for its playwright, Ed Harris… His lines are sharp, his characters self-aware… This is a hugely promising piece of work.”

Independent (Paul Taylor): “A devastatingly vibrant turn of phrase… A talent to look out for.”

Guardian (Lyn Gardner): “In this tasty 90 minutes of wild humour tinged with quiet sadness there is a great deal to savour… A smart piece of programming.”