DOGS OF SOCIETY
Just how real is Reality TV? Who are the victims? Why are we so hungry for it? Dogs of Society exposes the lives of four reality TV stars as they grapple with their off-screen reality and thirst for fantasy. In a digital world of judgement and scrutiny, just how much can a human take? And who’s tuning in to watch?
Julia Grogan, 24, is a writer-actor from London, England. Julia trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College, graduating in 2018. Shortly after graduating, she was invited to join the Royal Court Intro Writers’ Group. As a result, she wrote Playfight, her first play. The play won the ETPEP Award 2020 and was shortlisted for the Theatre Uncut Award, Papatango Award and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting. Julia co-wrote dark historical comedy Belly Up which premiered at the Vault Festival 2020 and will be performed at the Turbine Theatre later this year. She is currently working on a new pitch-black comedy Dark Side of June. Acting work includes: At Sea (BBC Radio 4), Belly Up (VAULT), Island Town (Catalyst Festival). Julia is represented by Alec Drysdale at Independent Talent.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I started writing plays around two years ago. I was working three jobs while auditioning for acting jobs; selling ice cream at Mamma Mia in the West End, working behind a bar and teaching baby ballet. I was having trouble sleeping so would stay up at night and write short stories and weird poems (that will never see the light of day). It really helped me sleep. So I started writing between shifts and haven’t stopped.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I have a morbid fascination with reality TV. I’m an absolute sucker for a show called Made in Chelsea which follows the lives of very rich people in London. I’ve always been curious as to how these stars have huge, ferocious arguments on screen and in the same breath, post pictures snuggling each other on Instagram. It didn’t make sense to me. So I became very interested in who’s behind constructing these narratives. And what that does to the cast member who has volunteered their life over to the show. But then, have they? I have loads of questions. Questions which perhaps don’t have an answer. I’m massively into talking about mental health too. It felt strange approaching the play without first delving into exactly what is going on in the minds of my characters. So I started inside their brains, then found the shape from there.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Oh Christ. New, hopeful, a little-bit-outrageous, hungry and terrified
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I work behind the bar at the Royal Court theatre and am massively influenced by the work that goes on there. It’s brave and pushes boundaries, which challenges me to push further with my writing. Not just the work that’s programmed there, but the people I work with. I am hugely influenced by what the people around me are going through, and though I would never rob their story, I sometimes find myself just listening to how people are speaking and what conversations are floating about. (Is that weird?). Public transport, if I’m on the tube I sometimes just listen to what people are saying, (again a bit weird?), what they’re reading, what placards they’re carrying. People in London are electric. They’re bloody magic so I am massively influenced by the people here. I like talking politics in the smoking area which influences how I approach themes and concepts.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I can touch my nose with my tongue.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Dirty Crusty by Clare Barron, People, Places and Things by Duncan MacMillan, Scenes with Girls by Miriam Battye, Gundog by Simon Longman, Yerma by Simon Stone.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
*Shameless plug* If you find yourself in England with a spare tenner later this year, please grab a ticket to my play BELLY UP at the Turbine Theatre!! And we can have a pint afterwards!