I’ve always loved making up stories – it’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. When I was ten I used to make up stories for my nephews and nieces. I’d use a blackboard and chalk to create stories for them and when I was even younger my sisters and I would go out into the street and act out stories from comics for friends and neighbours!
I was born in Bradford West Yorkshire. My parents come from a place called Dominica in the West Indies. When I was little, Mum, Dad and my older brothers and sisters were always talking about this fun place that I’d never been to and so I grew up imagining what it would be like to be in Dominica. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, I’m a bit of a dreamer, and when you have a big family (I have six sisters and three brothers) sometimes it’s good to just go inside your head and have your private time alone. I did that a lot, still do. For me there’s nothing better than to escape into another world where you’re in charge of all the characters , what they say and what they do. I suppose I’m a bit of a control freak and my story characters don’t talk back (well only sometimes) and so I can make them do whatever I want!
I went to Buttershaw Upper School in Bradford and that’s where I discovered the theatre. My friends and I used to stay in the school theatre improvising. We’d just invent characters and situations and act them out. We’d improvise for hours and hours until the cleaners threw us out at 5.45pm.
I attended Leeds Polytechnic and Ilkley College when I left school. My intention was to do a teaching degree because when I told people I wanted to be an actress and a writer, people told me I should seek a ‘proper’ job. I followed my heart though and transferred from my teaching course to do a BA degree in Performing Arts.
I moved to London in 1984 and I worked with a theatre company called The Black Theatre Co-op for six months as a stagemanager. After 6 months working with them I earned my equity card, which is a permit that actors needed to have in those days to get work.
Between 1984 and 1988 I worked as an actress in lots of Theatre in Education companies and Community Theatre Groups. I also did a short spell in a play at The Liverpool Playhouse.
In private I was writing. I was writing everything - children’s stories, adult short stories; theatre and TV scripts – I just couldn’t help myself but I didn’t share my writing work with anyone. I was a bit nervous to show anyone my writing as I didn’t want anyone to tell me that it was rubbish so I kept my stories to myself. Until one day I thought I’d quite like to get a job where I could work from home. I was feeling very broody at the time and felt like I really wanted to have a baby some day and with a job at home I’d be able to look after the baby while I worked! (I told you I was a dreamer. ) I decided to test the water and get some feedback on my writing. I gave a play to a director at The Liverpool Playhouse and I started sending my stories out to writing competitions. Although I got lots of rejections, I got some very positive feedback too. In 1988 I was offered a Thames Television Writers Bursary and I began a Residency at The Liverpool Playhouse . I also landed a great job in the same year presenting and writing scripts for Children’s BBC’s PLAYDAYS .
Trish was presenter and scriptwriter on the hit preschool BBC programme PLAYDAYS for eight years.
In 1989 my first book MAMMY SUGAR FALLING DOWN was published by Century Hutchinson and my first play BACK STREET MAMMY was produced by Temba Theatre Company but the most amazing and wonderful event in 1989 was the birth of my first son Kieron on May 21st.
Trish also writes scripts for TV, theatre and radio...
Trish’s TV writing credits include BBC’s EASTENDERS and the afternoon drama DOCTORS as well as comedy writing for programmes such as THE REAL McCOY (BBC) GET UP STAND UP (Ch 4) BROTHERS AND SISTERS (BBC) and children’s programmes such as PLAYDAYS (BBC) Trish was also one of the original writers on CBBC’s TWEENIES.
For BBC Radio 4 Trish has written three dramas, LUV DANCIN’; SINGLE PLUS ONE and THOSE OLD METAL THINGS as well as a mini series for WOMAN’S HOUR called UNSPOKEN.
Her stage plays include BACK STREET MAMMY staged at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith London in 1989 and produced again in 1992 at The West Yorkshire Playhouse; ANANSI TRADES PLACES staged at the Shaw Theatre London (Talawa Theatre Company) 2007; For The Theatre Royal Stratford East Trish has written RUNNING DREAM (1993); GULP FICTION (1996); PINOCCHIO (2005); The Olivier Award nominated CINDERELLA (2007); ALADDIN (2009); RED RIDING HOOD (2010); CINDERELLA (2011). Trish has been commissioned to write DICK WHITTINGTON for 2013.
(Right) Eamonn Walker and Graham Aggrey in BACK STREET MAMMY by Trish Cooke,West Yorkshire Playhouse 1991
(Far Left) Cathy Tyson and Marianne Johnbaptiste In RUNNING DREAM by Trish Cooke, Theatre Royal Stratford East 1993
(Left) Richard Sumitro (Pinocchio) and Larrington Walker (Gepetto) in Pinocchio by Trish Cooke at the Theatre Royal Stratford East 2005
Photo: Tristram Kenton
For more information on Trish's work see these links:
David Higham (Books)
David Higham ( Film, TV & Theatre, Radio, Theatre)
Screen Yorkshire - Where Aeroplanes Go To Die