Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spotlight On...Harrie Dobby

Name: Harrie Dobby

Hometown: London, UK

Education: University of Exeter – BA (Hons) Drama: First Class; Drama Studio London  - Post-Graduate Diploma in Professional Acting

Favorite Credits: I played Mary Jane Kelly in Jack the Ripper’s London, an immersive theatre experience set in disused tunnels under London Bridge station, that was pretty amazing! I was also part of English National Opera’s multi-media 3D production Sunken’ Garden, which premiered at the Barbican in London & went on to a worldwide tour.

Why theater?: I have been involved in theatre since I was four years old. I grew up performing at the local theatre club, then studied drama at University before training professionally at a London drama school. I am absolutely addicted to theatre and cannot imagine my life without it. In the last two years I have begun writing, which has allowed me to get involved even more creatively. For me, what is incredible about theatre is how relevant it can be. A play can be written, produced and performed far more quickly than a film, which allows us to make quick comments on events happening in the world.

Tell us about The Gap: The Gap is my first full-length play. It started out as a ten-minute short, and was performed at a theatre festival at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in London last year. It follows Lisa, a small-town American, who is desperate to escape her life. She applies for her passport, gets on a plane, and flies to Asia. One week into the trip of a lifetime, Lisa meets Dave. He is black, he is beautiful, and he is British. In Dave, Lisa finds what she has been looking for; someone to share the open road with. They dream of traveling together forever, but when Lisa becomes pregnant, this dream begins to unravel. Is it really possible to just strap a baby to your back and keep going? Joined by drug-dealing Irish hippies, sex-mad Londoners and Lisa’s bible-bashing mom, The Gap is a one-act comedy, looking at what you have to sacrifice in order to be happy.

What inspired you to write The Gap?: The Gap was inspired largely by a trip I took to South East Asia in 2013. I am a big traveller, and one of my aims is to see as much of the world as I possibly can. You meet all types of people when you are backpacking, from all walks of life, but what they all have in common is a desire to keep exploring. I thought this would be a great basis for a play; what would happen if two like-minded travellers met, and wanted to do this for their entire lives? What would happen if they had a baby? Would it be possible to keep up a nomadic lifestyle when you’ve got a baby to look after and bring up, or at some point do you have to sacrifice what you want for the good of your child? The characters in the play are all inspired by people I met on the road, including the Irish hippies who deal Viagra to pay for their travels!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: For me, the most important thing in theatre is that it is inclusive. I want anyone to be able to walk into a theatre where my play is being performed and find something in it that speaks to them. I like theatre that is real, and engaging, and makes everyone feel welcome. I enjoy realism most, with characters that I feel I can relate to. If a play says something about the world we are living in today, then happy days. For me, theatre should always be relevant, and have something to say about our world, as it is, now. I also love theatre that takes me on an emotional rollercoaster. If it has made me cry and laugh out loud in one show, it is doing a great job! I am most inspired by what is happening in the world right now. My generation is set to be the first that will be poorer than their parents. The political situation in the UK is hugely worrying, particularly for working people, and the creative industry, and people are feeling very disillusioned. This is probably what inspires me most to write. I think it is important to make your voice heard. I am also hugely inspired by the wave of female writers & comedians who are becoming so prevalent. Women like Caitlin Moran, and Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Sarah Millican. These women are brave, and honest, and funny, and they inspire me more than anyone else.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Any of the women I’ve mentioned above! I’d also love to work with Lyndsey Turner, a British director. She has directed some of my favourite plays, including Posh and Chimerica. Her work is always fun and full of life, and I would love to work with her at some point.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Land of Broken Toys by Yasmine Lever. It’s playing at the same venue as us (Venue #2 – The Flamboyan at the Clemente) and it looks incredible. Love, sex, betrayal, new beginnings, misfits? That sounds like my kind of show!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Hehe, right now? I would probably be played by a woman who looks like they are on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and the film would be entitled "The Stress of Getting Your First Play Over to FringeNYC from London!"

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would have loved to have seen Helen Mirren play in The Audience in 2013. I was on tour at the time and missed it. She is an absolute powerhouse of a performer, and such an inspiration.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Netflix. I am the world’s biggest procrastinator. It took me nearly a year to write The Gap, and I blame that almost entirely on "Orange is the New Black"!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Good question. Honestly, I don’t know! Working in this industry is all I’ve ever known. When I’m not acting or writing, I also work as a theatrical agent, which I love, so maybe I’d do that. However, I also work as a tour guide doing Jack the Ripper walking tours, so maybe I’d be tour guiding full time!

What’s up next?: It’s all go go go! It is my best friend’s wedding when I come back from NY, and I have a hen do (bachelorette party) to plan! After that, I have a few collaborative creative theatre projects that I’m working on, but at the moment they are all top secret! I do want to start writing my next play, and I’ve got a few ideas, so I’ll be writing again soon!

For more on The Gap, visit or