Eva Lily

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Journalism, Media and Publishing
Job title: Freelance Script Writer
Subject of study: English
Year of graduation: 2018
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Playwright/ Theatre Creative

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

When I first left Exeter I worked as a production assistant at Jamie Wilson Productions, where I worked on musicals in the West End & on Tour in the UK and internationally. I spent 4 years in theatre production working on shows like Sister Act The Musical, South Pacific and the transfer of Mrs Doutbfire the musical. I also assisted with the development of a new musical with director Luke Sheppard. I was still pursing playwriting around my day job and in 2018 I was a member of the Royal Court’s Introduction to Playwriting Course and had two scratch productions in London; ‘The Reply’ (White Bear Theatre) and ‘Of Love Letters & Suicide Notes’ (Waterloo East Theatre). In 2019, I co-founded Eve & Sea Productions and co-wrote our debut show ‘Salmon’ which received 4 star reviews and sold out performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Assembly Rooms, George Street) and in 2020 toured to the VAULT Festival, Exeter Phoenix, Mission Theatre Bath and the Loco Klub in Bristol. In 2020 I was made an associate writer of Middle Child Theatre and have been working with them to develop a new piece of work. In 2022, my play @LeahRoberts was shortlisted for the ETPEP award at the Finborough Theatre. At the end of 2022 I left my role as a production assistant to move into freelance playwriting and other creative support. In February 2023, I previewed my new one woman show ‘I’ve Got Some Things To Get Off My Chest’ which is now in pre-production for a pre-Edinburgh showing, a month at the Edinburgh Fringe and a tour.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I was always drawn towards creative industries and grew up loving theatre. I had discovered a love of writing while at Exeter but I little understanding of the ins and outs of the industry or how to ‘break in’. Working as a production assistant gave me an opportunity to immerse myself into general management and learn about different jobs and how they all collaborate to create theatre. What I liked about theatre production is that no day was the same and you got to be at the very heart of every aspect of producing theatre – sometimes from conception to closing. During this time, I was also taking every opportunity to develop and hone my skills and style. I endeavoured to get involved in a range of different workshops & productions and learnt the most about writing from other writers. As I’ve grown, I’ve been able to develop my own interests and styles and what I find particularly exciting about playwriting is that there are so many different elements you can play with and manipulate to express yourself.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was part of Theatre with Theatre & EUTCO (even on the committee in 2016/ 2017) and I was involved in a number of productions. The first play I ever wrote, ‘Bright’ was produced and performed by TWT in 2016!

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I loved the creative writing (shockingly) elements of the English degree and my highlight was my dissertation which was a poetry collection inspired by the theatrical practice of Alecky Blythe’s verbatim theatre – I got to record all my friends and family.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

What I enjoyed most about studying English at Exeter was the range, variety and extensiveness of the course. There were so many amazing courses that covered things you could never even imagine might be something to teach! I got the chance to deepen my knowledge about subjects I loved already but also the chance to explore areas I’d never heard of before. Also I had amazing, passionate and supportive tutors who really made the experience particularly special.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I grew up wanting to study at Exeter because my grandparents lived near by and used to bring us up to the campus a lot when we were growing up. I remember going to see a panto at The Northcott Theatre when I was little. But then when I was 17 and seriously looking at universities, I knew I wanted to study English but I also loved theatre, film and writing and Exeter was one of the only courses with such a range and flexibility within the modules you could study. Also, although I didn’t study theatre I knew I wanted a space where I could still be involved and so the wonderful theatre societies were also a pull.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Patience. The industry is difficult and it can often feel like a long uphill slog to get where you want to go. One thing I’ve found really useful is to set myself small goals along side my bigger aims and ambitions that gives you the feeling of winning along the way! On a more practical level, writing is all about practise, discipline and consistency – just make yourself do it! I’d also say that learning to pitch and sell yourself is actually a skill no one likes to talk about but it is vital and a confidence to reach out and introduce yourself. Writing is also about continually learning; look for workshops, share work if possible with someone you trust and also give feedback in return (giving good, helpful feedback is a skill within itself!) and also read/ watch everything – even styles or writers you don’t like will teach you something! From my experience within the wider theatrical industry – and also applicable to playwriting I think is organisation, precision, flexibility and a good sense of humour!

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Experiment. Try everything. Take every opportunity no matter how small. Talk to people. Most importantly just write, as much as you can, whenever you can

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently preparing my new one woman show ‘I’ve Got Some Things To Get Off My Chest’ for an Edinburgh run and tour beyond and ‘@LeahRoberts’ will hopefully have its debut at the Finborough Theatre later this year. The next big step for me is to try and secure an agent and try and hopefully have my work produced on a larger scale. I am also currently working on the second of a trilogy of plays about the internet for Middle Child.


Similar Alumni

Yasmin Coutinho

Playboy Enterprises. I have had a great career in the Creator Economy/Influencer Marketing space. Whilst working in this industry full time, following Exeter, I’ve also gotten an MSc from LSE, an MA from the University of Southern California and am now also completing an MBA in San Diego.

Annelise Lampshire

Deloitte Australia. I graduated in 2009 and spent a couple of years living and working in the UK before I moved to Melbourne, Australia to complete a Master’s of Teaching. For 7 years I worked as a teacher, before changing careers and becoming a Management Consultant.