Write what you know. That’s exactly what Anusree Roy is doing. A Dora Mavor Moore award-winning playwright who emigrated to Canada from India when she was 17, Roy often looks to bring her own experience and stories into her work. Her stage work includes the plays Breathlessness, Sultans of the Street and Brothel #9. After spending several years writing, directing and producing plays, Roy eventually brought her stories into television writing rooms as she worked on both Saving Hope and Remedy. Most recently, Roy joined the Killjoys team for their fifth and final season, and is currently writing for the new Global series Nurses.
She joined The TV Junkies for our Women Behind Canadian TV series to share her experience working in both the theatre and television worlds. Roy tells us why she thinks and feels a shift being made in the way diverse stories are being told, and what it was like to join the diverse room of Killjoys in their final year. She also shares her advice for young writers and discusses the biggest hurdles for young, diverse writers.
The TV Junkies: Can you first just share a little bit about your background? I know you also are a very successful playwright, so how did you end up writing for television?
Anusree Roy: My family and I immigrated to Canada, from India, when I was seventeen. I studied theatre at York and then went onto do my Masters at U of T in Drama Studies. I’ve always wanted to write for television, because I’ve always wanted to tell diverse stories to a wider mainstream audience, so when the opportunity came up during Remedy I was really excited!
TTVJ: What are some of the biggest differences in writing for TV versus the stage? Do you hope to keep writing in both mediums?
AR: Writing for theatre is private – it’s you and the blank page. What’s amazing about that is the content you put on that page is whatever you want. No one will change it. Television is so collaborative, and when a room is vibing, its magical what comes up on the page. And yes, of course, I will keep writing for both mediums. I love theatre and I love the electric pace of television — I am grateful to be able to expand to this medium and I’m excited by the opportunities where I can create diverse characters.