Godfrey Johnson talks to multi-award winning playwright, all round creative and marvelous friend, Karen Jeynes

Godfrey Johnson talks to multi- award winning playwright and all-around creative Karen Jeynes. GJ: This #coronavirus pandemic has a...

Godfrey Johnson talks to multi- award winning playwright and all-around creative Karen Jeynes.

GJ: This #coronavirus pandemic has affected the arts in a very profound way, do you think there's light at the end of the tunnel? What advice would you give to those who are feeling disenchanted and afraid?

KJ: It has. I understand that on a very human level, artists are in many cases struggling hugely, financially, emotionally. That pain is undeniable, and it's a reflection on our societal and economic structures. I hope that real aid is offered - in some cases this has started, I don't think it's yet enough. But I think that there absolutely is light at the end of the tunnel though because humans, in a very profound and deep way, need the arts. We've seen that clearly in this time, from people singing with neighbours on balconies to artists offering up their skills, to simply all the binge watching that's going on. People need entertainment, they need laughter, they need escapism, and in time they will need catharsis, they will need ways to process the shifts and changes that are occurring and will continue to occur. The arts connect us, they engage us emotionally, they transform us. We as artists will have to respond to this crisis first as human beings, to cope with whatever our own realities are. And then as human artists. We will make people laugh and cry, and recognise themselves, and then see that they too can be transformed. Arts will be the phoenix rising from these ashes.

GJ: Who are your favourite writers?

KJ: Oh so many. Terry Pratchett is a long term favourite who I was privileged enough to meet, and engage with about writing, and who taught me so much about humour and the power of telling stories through different lenses. Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Amy Sherman Palladino are two TV writers I'm excited by who are not afraid of changing the shape of stories and storytelling. Nnedi Okarafor, Jodi Picoult, Octavia Butler, Bill Bryson, Zakes Mda. Jordan Peele is a strong inspiration in comedy and social commentary.

GJ: A few career highlights?

KJ: I'd be lying if I didn't say that there are awards I've won which have meant a lot - the SAFTA for Best TV Comedy, for example. And the night we won the WGSA Award for TV Comedy, and my dear friend Paul Ian Johnson won for Best TV Drama - that was one of the last times we hung out together before Paul passed away and it was a glorious way to celebrate work and friendship and things I hold dear. The first show I had at the Baxter, "Everybody Else (is Fucking Perfect)" - growing up, going to the theatre, and now having MY show there, that was a real "Mama I made it" moment. Also selling out that same show at the National Arts Festival. And working with just the most wonderful people. I've made so many friends along the way, because this is work you do with your heart.

Karen Jeynes with fiancé Nick Holleman



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Urban Craft Magazine: Godfrey Johnson talks to multi-award winning playwright, all round creative and marvelous friend, Karen Jeynes
Godfrey Johnson talks to multi-award winning playwright, all round creative and marvelous friend, Karen Jeynes
Urban Craft Magazine
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