Playwright Jez Butterworth’s Advice to Creators: ‘Back Yourself 51 Percent’

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“In the Envelope: An Awards Podcast” features intimate interviews with award-winning actors and other creatives. Join host and Awards Editor Jack Smart for a front row seat to the industry’s most exciting awards races, and valuable acting and career advice from contenders!

Writer and director Jez Butterworth’s work for both stage and screen has earned plenty of distinctions, including a Writers Guild of America Award, Tony nominations, and Olivier and Evening Standard Theatre Awards in his native London. His advice for aspiring writers? “The most important thing, and the hardest thing, is to just back yourself 51 percent at least,” he tells Backstage. “You just have to be your own friend in it. Then I think things might happen.”

Butterworth’s plays “Jerusalem” and “The River” have stunned Broadway audiences, as did this season’s family epic about the Troubles in 1981 Northern Ireland: “The Ferryman,” now nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Play. The production, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Tony nominees Paddy Considine, Fionnula Flanagan, and Butterworth’s partner, Laura Donnelly, features 35 total performers including real-life babies.

For a fascinating and insightful look inside the mind of a writer whose ideas for plays, he says, chase him down relentlessly, listen to his “In the Envelope” interview wherever you get your podcasts!

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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