Katherine Parkinson: 'I've written a play for Edinburgh but I'm not going to see a single performance'

”The IT Crowd” actress is starring in Theatr Clwyd and the National Theatre’s ”Home, I’m Darling” whilst her debut play, ”Sitting”, is opening in Edinburgh

Katherine Parkinson
Katherine Parkinson
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

TV and theatre actress Katherine Parkinson is known for her role as Jen in The IT Crowd and is currently starring in Laura Wade's new play Home, I'm Darling. A co-production between Theatr Clwyd and the National Theatre, the show is about to open in London following a run in Wales. It's an unsettling comedy about trying to be a bona fide domestic goddess. Parkinson's stage work includes several West End and fringe plays including Dead Funny at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2016 and Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2012. She has also been commissioned by the BBC to write a play that is about to be staged at the Edinburgh Festival. Here she explains why Home, I'm Darling is so relevant and why she's missing her own play's debut.

In Home, I'm Darling I play a woman who gives up her job in order to become the perfect '50s housewife. There's a twist in the early scenes, so I'm not going to give you too many details, but the play touches on lots of things, playing fair, loyalty of service, feminist issues. The more we do it the more we all feel like we're discovering more things.

Tamara Harvey, our director, has been phenomenal. I am a mother, so I know what she's going through and she makes having a three month old whilst doing all this seem easy. We all have to put our children to bed and this – allowing us to stay in the workplace and be present as mothers – is the future. It's manageable.

I've written a play for the Edinburgh Fringe but I'm not going to see a single performance. I hope it will have a future just so I can see it. Otherwise I will have to get them to do it in my living room. I have various friends who are going to report back. I did get to watch a run in the rehearsal room last week, which was thrilling.

Katherine Parkinson as Judy and Richard Harrington as Johnny in Home, I'm Darling
Katherine Parkinson as Judy and Richard Harrington as Johnny in Home, I'm Darling
© Manuel Harlan

I've done many Edinburghs, and I know how many opportunities there are for new young writers. I thought the BBC's scheme was inspired because they were coming to people who were, dare I say it, older and who wouldn't ever write a play unless asked to do so. Also they wanted to make sure they got young emerging female directors to work on them and three of the writers are women, which is a good thing.

I have a lot of respect for playwriting in terms of the craft. And my biggest pleasure is interpreting what writers say. This process has given me the confidence to try and write, but I want to write a comedy for TV. That's what I'll try next.

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