Director, writer, actor, and singer/songwriter Cora Bissett was first propelled into the limelight as a teenager, after answering a band’s advertisement in the Fife Free Press. The band Darlingheart—influenced by such groups as The Pixies and R.E.M.—was searching for a singer, and Bissett fit the bill. Juggling school, stardom, and touring (with bands Radiohead and Blur) made for quite the whirlwind experience—one she chronicled meticulously in hand-written diaries.
It was the rediscovery of these diaries (and a collection of newspaper clippings) 25 years later in her father’s house that inspired Bissett—now an Olivier Award winning director and the associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland—to write What Girls Are Made Of. The play, starring Bissett as herself, makes its US premiere on June 4 during this year’s Festival.
“It’s a strange feeling, flipping between the worn pages, hearing yourself growing up from schoolgirl to young woman; bright new thing to has-been,” wrote Bissett in The Guardian. She continued: “It’s fun, weird and incredibly cathartic. I keep having to check myself and say: was that how it was? Sometimes I have remembered only the fun, the laughs and the ride. The story rips along at lightning speed because that’s how it was. The actors barely have time to switch a guitar pedal off before they are into the next hairy adventure.”
After her stint on the rock-and-roll circuit, Bissett graduated from the Royale Conservatoire Scotland in 1997. She worked as an actor for many years before directing her flagship production, Roadkill, which premiered at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A multi-talented artist, Bissett is passionate about creating innovative, cross-genre work and frequently seeks out ‘real life’ stories that feel urgent and untold.
Watch a trailer for What Girls Are Made Of below, and see it during Spoleto Festival USA at Memminger Auditorium, June 4 – 8.