Minotaur Theatre Company’s Shackled – writer’s interview

Venue talks to Asye Tary, the writer of Minotaur Theatre Company’s Shackled.

Venue: When did you start writing plays?

Asye: Me and a couple of mates used to write for our own amusement – proper Drama geeks, so I guess it started at school. I wanted to take it more seriously and do it at degree level and UEA was pretty much the only place that offered a decent course in scriptwriting for theatre specifically.

Photograph: Jerusha Green

Venue: Last year you won the Minotaur creative writing competition, is playwriting a career you intend to pursue?

Asye: I would love to, yeah. It’s not a career I think would be easy or even realistic to follow. But there’s something encouraging about seeing a piece of work you wrote in your bedroom being performed in a studio by actors.

Venue: The plot is quite dark, what inspired you to write the play?

Asye: It’s all based on real events. Pretty much everything you see and hear actually happened, except for a couple of changes to details like names. There’s one monologue in particular that even feels verbatim – that was intentional. It’s very naturalistic. I guess if you described the plot to someone, it sounds like this incredibly depressing kitchen-sink drama. It’s not! It’s actually quite funny in parts. Because of the darker themes it deals with, I think it has to be. I like to think it’s a play that doesn’t feel sorry for itself.

Venue: How involved are you in casting and direction?

Asye: Involved enough that I’ve got an idea of how the show will turn out, but there’s also enough distance for me to feel like I’ll be watching someone else’s interpretation of it. After talking with the director, Lizzy Talbot about it, I felt completely comfortable to leave it in her hands. There are few other really great people looking after it too. I’ve only seen one rehearsal so far and it’s all I get until opening night!

Venue: What moment of the production is most enjoyable for you?

Asye: That’s hard to answer until I’ve seen it on its feet. In the performance there’ll be moments that turn out differently to how they’re read in a script, but I’m looking forward to seeing the more comedic parts. I think the juxtaposition of the humour with some of the darker moments will heighten it. It’s like comic relief. The main character has a couple of cracking monologues. He’s middle aged with cancer, and the ultimate lad.

Venue: What part of the writing and production process to you find most daunting?

Asye: The writing isn’t particularly daunting – it is probably the easiest part because if you can see it, all you have to do is put it on paper. Sometimes the production process can be a bit daunting because I hope people will get the culture of it. But then I think the production team and the cast are wicked so fuck it, I’m just going to enjoy the show.

Venue: Is it difficult coming back to UEA and working with students you know?

Asye: Not at all! If anything, it is easier that I know them because the trust is already there. I miss UEA a lot so it’s been wicked to come up and hang out in the studio again.


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harrietfarnham Harriet is the editor of Arts. Email her at

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May 2022
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