Skins writer Lucy Kirkwood penned ‘provocative’ new play Maryland about male sexual violence in just two days after Sabina Nessa’s murder and sentencing of Wayne Couzens – and it’s already on stage in the West End

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  • Award-winning author’s latest work, Maryland, is based on male sexual violence
  • Kirkwood, 37, says he was forced to write a play that had been ‘in his head’ for years after the September 17 murder of Sabina Nessa – and did so in two days
  • He sent it to the Royal Court Theater in London and the play is already on stage
  • Told the Guardian newspaper the plot was ‘informed by something real – my experience or someone I know or something on the news.’

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The screenwriter who wrote Skins has revealed how she was forced to write a new play about sexual violence against women following the ‘horrific’ murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard.

Lucy Kirkwood wrote Maryland in just two days and narrated the 30-minute theater piece, already a ‘howl’ at London’s Royal Court Theatre, and ‘what I feel about the culture of violence against women’ There is a way to express it. ‘

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Speaking to the Guardian, Kirkwood said that he was not commissioned to write Maryland, but did so after he sent it to the theatre, who agreed to stage it.

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The award-winning author’s latest work, Maryland, is based on male sexual violence; Lucy Kirkwood, portrayed in 2013, says the play ‘had to happen now’, telling the Guardian she wrote it in just two days

The murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa in Cater Park, south-east London, when she had come to visit a friend 'Galvanized' Kirkwood to write Maryland on 17 September.

The murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa in Cater Park, south-east London, when she had come to visit a friend ‘Galvanized’ Kirkwood to write Maryland on 17 September.

The short drama - just 30 minutes long - is 'unfortunately, rooted in real life', says Kirkwood

The short drama – just 30 minutes long – is ‘unfortunately, rooted in real life’, says Kirkwood

The award-winning playwright, 37, said that the murder of an elementary school teacher, Sabina Nessa, which took place at Cater Park in south-east London, while she was on her way to visit a friend on September 17, made her write a was inspired to. Men play about sexual violence that had been in his head for a decade.

Nessa’s death came days before the sentencing of Wayne Coogens, who would spend the rest of her life in prison, on charges of kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard.

She said: ‘It was on my mind as sketches and lines for years, but Sabina Nessa’s death complicated everything and got me excited – I thought it had to happen now.’

Kirkwood said that the short play was ‘unfortunately, rooted in real life’ and that its plot was ‘informed by something real – my experience or someone I know or something on the news.’

Describing the work as a piece of ‘agitprop’ designed to provoke, she said: ‘I want to put a stick in it and shake it and make that wasp’s nest more angry. want to do Its gesture is to ask why we are not angry.

The murder of Sarah Everard portrayed also influenced the playwright, who described the play as a 'howl'.

The murder of Sarah Everard portrayed also influenced the playwright, who described the play as a ‘howl’.

Sabina Nessa's death came days before the sentencing of Wayne Couzens, who would spend the rest of her life in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard.

Sabina Nessa’s death came days before the sentencing of Wayne Couzens, who would spend the rest of her life in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard.

In a quote given to The Royal Court Theatre, Kirkwood said: ‘The play was a private conversation with me for many years. The gruesome murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year have prompted me to make it public.

‘I hesitate to even call it a play, when it’s just a screech, a way to express what I feel about the culture of violence against women, but I’m sharing it because I wonder if it might convey a bit of other people’s feelings about it as well.

It was written very quickly, and I am grateful to the Royal Court for snatching up a gauntlet thrown with so much energy, care and seriousness last Friday night.’

Maryland runs until 16 October at the Royal Court Theater in London.

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