Knowing me, knowing you: Polly Stenham and Victoria Williams

A relationship under the microscope

POLLY STENHAM, 25, is an award-winning playwright, best known for her play That Face, which she wrote when she was 19. She is currently involved with a number of projects in theatre, television and film.

 

The first time I met Victoria was when we were at UCL together and we went on a night out raving. We were all a bit miserable in halls so we moved into a flat in Camden together the next day. It's actually the same street that our gallery is on now. We became really good friends and we've been living together ever since. We've lived in a horrible place in Dalston and then I inherited a house up in Highgate, which is where we all live now; there's about nine of us. We live with actors and arts students so it's really creative. We opened the Cob Gallery in February and it's been great working together. We have really similar taste and we rarely disagree on art, which is key. She's good at things that I'm not good at; I'm quite scatty and not terribly organised whereas she's a real perfectionist. I can calm her down though, the combination works well. We were aware that working together when you're such good friends is risky and I guess it could have gone either way but it suits us both. I'm writing a lot, she does a lot of the organising and together we make the creative decisions. We rarely fight but if we do it's pretty horrible. What's lovely about the gallery is that above it we have a big studio where people are painting and making jewellery and then I write in the back. There's a kind of factory vibe. It's brilliant working with your best mate. If you get along then why would you work with anyone else?

 

VICTORIA WILLIAMS, 26, met Polly at UCL when she was studying art history. The friends have lived together for six years and have recently set up The Cob Gallery together, a gallery space and artists' studio in Camden.

Polly and I didn't really know each other when we first moved in together and I think she'd agree that we had a bit of a love-hate relationship to begin with, but some of the best relationships start like that. When we first met she was a real hippy with dreadlocks and I thought she was a bit bonkers. When we moved into our first flat she gave me a crystal which I thought was hilarious. I remember her writing That Face on the side of her uni work and we would read the lines in our living room. Then it went on to be so successful overnight, it was fantastic. After university I worked for Waldemar Januszczak, the art critic, as a researcher, which was really fun. My contract came to an end and Polly suggested getting a place that had a studio atmosphere as she gets quite lonely writing. She found this one and named it the Cob Gallery after her father. She then asked if I'd take it on with her and I've always wanted to run a gallery so I jumped at the chance to be involved. We're very, very different but I think that's why we're such good friends now. I think we balance each other out. I'm quite methodical and perhaps a bit more balanced while Polly is more flighty. But we have a lot of the same values and we also have a shared taste in art; we get excited about the same things which is great for us working together.

Anatomy presented by Guts for Garters at The Cob Gallery runs until 23 December. cobgallery.com

Suggested Topics
Life & Style
techHow a 'grey brick' took over the world of portable gaming
News
peopleTop Gear presenter and all-round controversialist is at it again
Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

VIDEO
News
Coren Mitchell, who is the daughter of the late broadcaster Alan Coren and is married to comedian David Mitchell, produced a hand to make poker history at the 98th EPT main event.
peopleJournalist and TV presenter becomes first ever two-time winner of the European Poker Tour
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Geography Teacher

    £130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

    Do you want to work in Education?

    £55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

    Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

    Day In a Page

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players