Suzie Miller quit her job at the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the National Theatre in London in 2008. The multi-award-winning playwright of Prima Facie speaks about cultivating a creative career and having the law as your muse.
Forgiveness and human frailty, examined through the lens of the justice system, are themes Suzie Miller enjoys writing about. She never really left the law behind, even after quitting her job as a solicitor to focus on a playwright project over a decade ago.
Miller had been working at the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre for 10 years before she landed a chance to really launch her writing career. She was in her mid-30s, working as a lawyer in Sydney two to three days a week, and writing theatre every other day when she was offered a residency at London’s National Theatre. Her day job inspired her writing. Cross Sections (2005), one of Miller’s early plays, was performed at the Sydney Opera House and won an Australian Writers’ Guild Award for drama. It reflected on the experiences of homeless clients she worked with in Kings Cross.
“When the play was put on, it was interesting how many people came up to me and said, ‘I walked back through the Cross and saw the people on the streets, and had a sense that they could be my sister … I suddenly saw them as people’,” Miller says.