Benedict Lombe

What are the themes of your play?

Lava is a play that celebrates Blackness in its fullness, showcasing the joy, the struggle, the beauty and the resistance that has maintained our survival.

Why did you write it and why now?

I wrote it because I wanted to make something that allowed Black people to enter a space and leave taller than when they walked in.   After the pandemic, after George Floyd, after the pain and the heartbreak that has gone back centuries, there were no words.  All that was left was raw emotion.  We needed a space to hold each other, to see each other, uplift each other and to remember each other.  To remember the legacy of the ones who came before us and the legacy we will leave for those who follow us.  I hope, in a small way, I was able to create that space with this play.  It filled me up and poured out of my soul.

Which playwrights are you influenced by and in what way?

Lynn Nottage – for how her detailed and extensive research transforms into worlds we rarely get to see. Hers was the first play I ever read that centred Congolese characters with care and dignity.

debbie tucker green – for the inimitable musicality of her writing.  Her ability to convey so much with so few words is a masterclass in storytelling.

Paula Vogel – the nuance, the honesty and the utter brutality of How I Learned to Drive is a testament to what it means to be brave in your work.

Legends. All of them. How lucky we are to get to experience their work.

What do you want to achieve as a playwright? 

Immortality! Low-key not joking – I want to create work that will stand the test of time. Work that will stay in your mind long after the play has ended. Work that will burrow deep into your soul and leave you surprised at what you find there.  Work which future generations will pick up long after I’m gone, and in it, find peace.  So – new collaborators come through!  The future is waiting.

Agent – Curtis Brown

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