My last post was February 2020, wow! around three weeks before the first lockdown. I was what was called a Lab Associate at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and was supposed to be making a new show for Autumn 2020 however, in due course that would be cancelled along with everything else. During that lockdown I didn’t feel a creative at all, I was happy to abide by lockdown rules and take stock – spend my days walking, relaxing, reading – I am very lucky to live somewhere rural and remote. Fast forward to the second lockdown and it all changed – I had seen some fantastic work online, I was facilitating classes for students to navigate the potential world of online auditions and I started to feel that now was the time to make some new work, after all that new show put back by a year but was slowly creeping up. My thinking was that at this point [September 2020] we could be told at very short notice things could start up again, so it made sense to develop a show to have ready so we could make it at a couple of weeks notice – if needs be, – a couple of weeks? who was I kidding.
I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to make a show that was relevant to a large portion of theatre audiences who rarely see their stories onstage, namely women aged 45-65 [think about it]; I did some research and yes, women of that age were one of the largest groups to buy theatre tickets [think about it]. So I did some more thinking about it and contacted three organisations in Plymouth to ask if they would partner up with me so I could collect stories [listen to my introduction and some of these stories here]. With these partners onboard I applied for Arts Council funding to research and develop the show; the Arts Council had changed some of their criteria to make it easier for freelancers to apply, such as not having to have match funding [a % of your total ask from another source] and not having to have a finished outcome, ie they would fund development. This was a potential lifeline for many freelancers because even though there were support networks to apply to, a lot of freelancers did not meet the criteria and fell through the cracks. It has been very tough especially watching theatre buildings receive large amounts of money when in reality they rely on freelancers to make the work that goes on inside them.
Eight months later, thanks to two successful funding bids, I have engaged with around 40 women and recorded 20. I got a new look website with drop down menu to hear selected audios or put together, as podcasts. And, finally I have created a first draft of a new show, Invisible Other. This will be going into the Drum at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on September 7th, 8th & 9th 2021 and there will be a small south west tour to follow that will take us into Spring 2022. In a weeks time I will be heading into a rehearsal room with some brilliant people, to develop the script and now, finally, I am feeling very creative.
For more information on Invisible Other click here
For a short film that explains the development click here