Bola Agbaje is an award-winning playwright whose debut play Gone Too Far! was performed at the Royal Court and the Hackney Empire and won an Olivier award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre. She is under commission with Paines Plough and Tiata Fahodzi.
1. What was your biggest career break?
My biggest career break was my first play Gone Too Far being selected for the Young Writers Festival and performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007. It set the stage – so to speak! – for my career as a playwright and screenwriter.
2. Have you had a notable mentor – and if so what was it about them that was so inspiring?
A mentor who gives up their time to give advice and share their experiences has always been the most valuable to me.
3. What one piece of advice would you give to the 20-year-old you?
Chase your dreams now.
4. What qualities to do you look for in the people you work with?
Passion, a person who follows their instincts and a person who believes in respecting others even if their opinions differ.
5. Who do you admire and why?
A writer and show runner called Shonda Rhimes. She has the career I aspire to have and I love that she speaks her mind, is keen to fight out against injustice both in her work and in her personal life and is fearless. She has changed the face of television in America and is at the top of her game. She breaks records, wins awards and is a perfect role model.
6. What does the future of your industry look like?
In my eyes I am hopeful. I fight every day for equality and do so through my work. The internet and new technology has made it easier for people to put out new work without going through the traditional route. You don’t have to wait around for work – you can create your own.
7. If you hadn’t chosen your current career, what would you have done instead?
Been a producer.
8. What is your biggest extravagance?
I’m a creative at the beginning of my career, no extravagance yet.
9. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why? (you can invite three people – they must be alive)
Oprah Winfrey, my mum and Brad Pitt.
10. What do you do to relax away from work?
Socialise with friends and family.
11. If you could change one thing about Britain today, what would it be?
The weather – more sunshine brings joy into people’s lives.
12. What would your last meal be? (please choose a starter, a main course and a pudding)
Starter – anything with stir fry prawns, main – lobster, pudding – apple crumble.