This month on The Edit we are celebrating British Theatre and to kick things off we have in our living room, the inimitable Isabella Macpherson. Beginning her career at M&C Saatchi, Isabella went on to become publisher then Editor-in-Chief of ArtReview Magazine. For the past 15 years, she has, through companies she co-founded, produced critically praised work in the art, fashion and theatre industries. Today, The Edit talks to the woman who does it all about her newest venture - Platform Presents.

How did Platform Presents come to be?

Gala Gordon and I met at a dinner for Oliver Stone. We clicked immediately. We’re both fascinated by the craft of theatre, television, and film, but also the need which exists in this incredibly competitive industry to give a platform to rising star talent – actors, writers and directors, and particularly female voices. So, we decided, without any blueprint, to set up a production company that did just this – Platform Presents. Our aim is to build a collaborative, creative community for the up-and-coming

alongside established artists.


A year and a half on, what has been your biggest joy?

To chance upon a wonderful, hard-working, bright and funny business partner. It is very hard to build a business; finding a like-minded person is rare.


The upcoming Poetry Gala  is raising funds for the Platform Presents Playwright’s Prize, what are your aims for the prize?

To reach as many young writers as possible and make them feel that there is support and opportunities for them out there. To get as many writers to enter plays as possible. To meet writers we can work with and build great productions with them. 


We’ve also got a terrific judging panel including Nicholas Pinnock, (actor & poet), Mary Laws, (playwright, ‘Blueberry Toast’, screenwriter, AMC’s ‘Preacher’ and HBO’s ‘Succession’), Nadia Latif (Associate Director, The Young Vic), Nancy Durrant (Arts Commissioning Editor, The Times), David Eldridge, (playwright, ‘Beginning’, ‘Holy Warriors’, ‘In Basildon’ & ‘The Knot of the Heart’ & screenwriter), Nadine Rennie, (Casting Director, Soho Theatre), Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (playwright, ‘The Wasp’, ‘Emilia’ at The Globe & screenwriter), Adam Speers, Executive Producer, ATG Productions), Jessica Ronane, (Casting Director, The Old Vic & Jessica Ronane Casting), Ellie Kendrick (actress, BBC’s ‘Anne Frank, ‘Upstairs Downstairs’, HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ & playwright ‘Hole’ Royal Court).



What kind of voices are you looking to find through the Playwright's Prize?

We’re not being prescriptive other than to ask for distinctive, dynamic, heart-stopping, extraordinary, wonderful plays. Maybe that is prescriptive…


What advice do you have for aspiring actors, writers, and directors?

To be persistent and enthusiastic. To find as many opportunities as you can to see work, to make work and to meet people who make work.


As well as Platform Presents, you are also a strategic advisor to the BFC Fashion Trust, the British Film Institute, and a Trustee of The Bush Theatre - how do you get it done? 

It all feeds into each other, i.e. working with talent, or talented people, to build creatively excellent productions. It helps to have a broader view across the different disciplines, which often collaborate.


Living or dead, what writer, director and actor would you love to produce a play with?

That is a very tricky question, but actually also not. I would like to produce another play, or television, with Mary Laws. She wrote Blueberry Toast, which we produced in 2018 (“Delivered with a forceful, dazzling punch to the gut.” The Times). She’s a genius with words and has now been snapped up to write on HBO’s ‘Succession’, alongside her own TV show. Mary, I hope you read this. 


What does 2019 look like for you and Platform Presents?

We’re kicking off with this Poetry Gala on January 20th at the Playhouse Theatre. For one night only, stars of the stage and screen will read the world’s favourite poems, to raise funds for a new Playwright’s Prize. The incredible company, directed by the brilliant Natalie Abrahami, includes Juliet Stevenson, Rhys Ifans, Denise Gough, Jason Watkins, Romola Garai, Tobias Menzies, Kyle Soller, Jade Anouka, James Massiah, Phoebe Fox, Danny Kirrane, Fisayo Akinade, Adrianna Bertola, Dougray Scott, Andrew Burnap, Genevieve O’Reilly, John Standing, Jaime Winstone, Iwan Rheon, Gala Gordon, Paapa Essiedu, George Mackay, Emily Berrington, Sebastian de Souza, Harry Treadaway and many more. 2019 is starting as we mean to go on.




To purchase tickets to the Poetry Gala, go to www.atgtickets.com 

For more information on the Playwright’s Prize go to www.PlatformPresents.com or follow @PlatformPresents

For more in British theatre read Isabella's recommendations of what's on in London