‘The Horror Writer’ Creator Spills All On The Upcoming Production

‘Horror is all about scaring people. You can turn off a movie or a TV show, you can close a book, but in a live performance the thing you are afraid of is in the room with you, it’s alive and it may even be hiding behind you’, Emily Gillmor Murphy tells Meg.ie

by Kevin Worrall

Halloween approaches!

So what better way to celebrate it than a trip to the theatre for a good scare? ‘The Horror Writer’ is coming to The Pearse Centre in Dublin next week, and the cast are in the midst of their final rehearsals.

The play tells the story of Theodore Burn, an ageing best selling writer, who reveals to Dani, a young nurse, his final tale of horror. But unlike his other stories, this gruesome tale of murder and fantasy may just be real…

It is Emily Gillmor Murphy’s first time writing in the horror genre, and she couldn’t be more excited to debut her new piece of work to the world! 

She took the time to chat to Meg.ie about the upcoming production… 

What can audiences expect from ‘The Horror Writer?’

‘The Horror Writer’ is like no other murder mystery you’ve seen before.It’s full of dark humour mixed with a menacing plot, that is full of twists that you won’t see coming. Expect the unexpected! Expect fantastic actors performing with passion and intrigue. But most importantly, expect a fun, spooky evening that you won’t forget any time soon. 

What was the inspiration behind the show?

I’ve always loved the horror genre and I knew I eventually wanted to write a show that expressed my passion for things that are just a bit scary. I have always loved ghost stories. As a novelist and playwright, I’ve read countless books and plays that are based around the horror genre. As a child, I loved Roald Dahl’s books such as ‘The Witches’ and then as I got older I began to read work by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Susan Hill. Closer to home, I’ve always loved Peter Dunne’s work, his mind fascinates me and he’s got a gift for scaring people. I was very lucky that he gave me a lot of advice and help while writing ‘The Horror Writer.

How is this work different from other murder mystery type of show?

I think there’s something a bit more dark and playful in my work. For instance, in an Agatha Christie story, the audience is guided by someone who is reliable and trustworthy, someone who makes the audience members feel safe (for example the detective Hercules Poirot). In ‘The Horror Writer’, the audience is introduced to realistic characters who have sinister motivations and are willing to manipulate their story for their own personal gain. My characters are flawed and relatable, our audience will engage with them because they will see themselves in them. But the most fun part for our audience will be figuring out who they can trust and who is telling the truth. 

How did you find writing in this genre for the first time?

I adored writing in this genre but it was of course challenging at times.When dealing with the topic of murder, it forces me to go to a very dark part of my mind. Essentially I ask myself, under what circumstances would I be willing to kill someone? If you want to know the answer, well then, you’ll just have to come and see the play. Horror is all about scaring people. You can turn off a movie or a TV show, you can close a book, but in a live performance the thing you are afraid of is in the room with you, it’s alive and it may even be hiding behind you

How have rehearsals been going?

Rehearsals have been going really well! By a stroke of luck, our incredibly talented cast, Sinead Keegan, Philip Arneill and Bryan Burroughs have all crossed paths in the past, but this is the first time they’ve gotten the opportunity to work together so there’s great excitement in the room. Ciaran Gallagher is a bloody brilliant director (pun intended) who has a very similar aesthetic for this play as I do.

Have any spooky things happened whilst rehearsing?

One evening, I managed to lock myself out of our rehearsal room, it was very late and I had stepped out for some air. The wind was cold and fierce and for a moment I was convinced I could see a tall figure hiding in the darkness of the unlit car park! Needless to say, I was very relieved when my cast finally found me.

What’s your favourite thing about Halloween?

My favourite thing about Halloween is that it celebrates the strangeness in people and the world around us!


‘The Horror Writer’ plays at the Pearse Centre, Dublin City, from October 25th – 27th. Get your tickets today.

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