Rising star: Matt Charman, playwright

Matt Charman, playwright

Charman, 28, won the Verity Bargate Award for his first play, A Night at the Dogs. Judge Jessica Dromgoole called it 'a triumph of instinctive theatre writing'. His second, The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder, is now playing at the National Theatre.

He got a job washing cars after completing his English degree. 'I hated it, but worked with real characters. I started to make notes and wrote before work.'

As a student, he sneaked into second acts at the theatre. 'Then, they didn't check tickets. I went to the library afterwards to read the first act so I knew what had happened.' In the future, he'd like to write a play 'that feels as if it's fallen out of the sky, like it's always been there'.

His first efforts at stagecraft were for You've Been Framed! 'We filmed seven clips hoping to get money: a birthday party going wrong, falling in a stream. But none was picked.'

Now he's adapting a book into a film for director Roland Emmerich of The Day After Tomorrow fame. 'I'm jumping in at the deep end, but it's a massive break.'

Charman has found his calling. 'I carry a bit of guilt that it's not a proper job, but there's nothing else I'd rather do. It fits and feels right.'

· The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder is at the National Theatre in repertoire until September.

Emma Love

The GuardianTramp

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