Your second chance to Grow Up!

Lighthouse, Poole is giving you another chance to ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ tomorrow, Wednesday 10th April. Yes you really can eat free chocolate while enjoying a show of highs and lows, featuring a broken-hearted drip talking about how overwhelming his life is.

Grow up and just love chocolate shows the main character growing up and working out that he has to accept his life the way it is. We debuted the show at Salisbury Playhouse in February as part of Fest West 2019, and we are bringing it back for one night only in a special double bill with EBYA who will be debuting their new show, ‘Til We Win’. It will be a lot of fun. Come along and support us.

Tickets are £9 for both shows, the double bill starts at 7pm, and you can book tickets through the Lighthouse website or by calling the box office on 01202 280000

I will be doing a Q and A following the show so send me any questions you want answered and I will do my best to answer them all. It’s going to be an excellent night of theatre at the Lighthouse Poole tomorrow night, Wednesday 10th April.

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February was nuts

Hello there. February was a month of glorious mayhem. We launched into an intense week of rehearsals at Lighthouse Poole, with visits from some great creative consultants like Jonny Fluffypunk, Daryl Beeton, Claire Hodgson from Diverse City, and a guest audience for an open sharing which included my good friend Hugo Lucas-Rowe, and Rosie Russell from The Arts Development Company. By Friday we were ready and my debut showing of ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ at Salisbury Playhouse Theatre was received like live fire in heaven with chocolate. I would like to thank everyone that was involved for their hard work and excellence through the week. The show was spot on. It was like magic. There will be a film of the creative process, and the show, online very soon. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate orgy ending with lap dancing puppets made from chocolate bars and mini rolls. I was a mess.

There was no time to relax after the show, because we dashed straight off to London for a National Youth Theatre Masterclass in play writing and directing. It was literally life changing and I have decided to move to London again to hopefully rock the world with my immoral mind. The course leader Benjamin Salmon was my play writing guru for the week, and he taught me a lot. I wrote a scene about death and alcoholism, which are both lovely subjects, and tested my director and professional actors when it came to bringing my script to life. It was strange to realise that I was the only one there that has been to a lot of funerals but I think I should use that. Death is the most powerful thing on earth. So, sorry but I will always write about death.

Last week I performed Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ with Extraordinary Bodies at the Birmingham Town Hall. The British Para Orchestra played the piece, and we improvised poetic movements and aerial displays in front of an audience who were free to move around the space. It was an incredible experience, for all of us, and I will admit that I forgot how much I enjoyed performing. I felt very privileged to perform with Extraordinary Bodies again, and it was definitely worth the travel to Birmingham even after everything we have been doing elsewhere. It was magical.

We are starting to figure out a schedule in London, booking courses and exploring new opportunities. I’m open to any suggestions of projects and courses to get involved in, so let me know if you have any ideas…

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Chocolatey Progress Update

Hello Folks. Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate is going ridiculously amazing and I am actually not lying, not that I would ever lie. Well maybe I would, but not about that. The set is being made as we speak. The designers have been doing an amazing job. And we will have a pinata full of chocolate. #Yay.

On a boring admin note the schedule is done, and I love it that I can say that. All I need to do now with our amazing team is direct the show, which will be extraordinary and chocolatey. I will probably have to eat about 3 tons of chocolate on Friday, which will be delicious, and it’s always interesting to send my PA out to buy weird stuff like £130 of chocolate. I know that my maths doesn’t add up there, but I’m not a mathematician. I’m saying that I’m buying and eating a lot of chocolate. Which will be gorgeous.

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Rehearsing for Grow Up

My Valentine This Year…

The debut performance of ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ is almost upon us, and we are very excited to go into rehearsals with a fantastic script. Well I am saying it is a fantastic script because I wrote it, but to tell you truth I don’t have a clue. Other people have been telling me it is in a good place but they might be lying to my face, so who knows? Come and see it for yourself and tell me what you think.

I’m looking forward to performing at The Salisbury Playhouse and seeing what the other two plays are like in the triple bill. It’s going to be a Valentine’s treat on the 15th February, perhaps the perfect setting for a date, especially if you are single like me and believe that chocolate is basically a god. Which it is. You can look it up. Chocolate is the food of the gods. Plus I read somewhere that it is better than a snog so win-win, but come to the show, and we’ll explain it better.

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Happy New Year Highlights from 2018

Hello Folks, Happy new year. Looking back at 2018, it was a bit like having a chocolate party with Boris Johnson photo bombing you. What has your year been like?

I’ve had a crazy busy year, but wanted to take this opportunity to share my highlights of 2018…

I was invited to teach creative writing workshops at the 1Voice weekend, to two groups of AAC users, from very young to adult. For some, it was the first time they had used their device for anything creative, and inspired them to explore their technology through these creative writing tasks, to which I heard some fantastic responses. They all wrote some very imaginative poetry, including poems spoken from their eye gaze’s point of view. There were some incredible poems and short stories, and many of the participants chose to perform theirs at the final presentation session for everyone. It was delightful to see how creative they were and hopefully my students have continued to write poetry and stories at home.

Following my work at that event I was nominated and proudly won the Alan Martin award for my contribution to creative arts. I couldn’t make it to the award ceremony so Toby Hewson brought the award all the way down to Dorset for me, and after our brilliant chat I actually forgot the award and he had to post it to me! #bigmistake

My commission at Inside Out festival was a perfect way to end the summer. My team created a magical poetry and sound installation in response to public input about Shelley Park. It was called Prose in the Park, and turned out to be a challenging learning experience for us all, but it also ended up being truly excellent and a very proud weekend for us too.

Looking into 2019, I have some very exciting bookings already. My show, ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ is going to be perfomed at Salisbury Playhouse as part of a triple bill for Fest West 2029. It’s a fantastic show about growing up and loving chocolate with an exploration into the mental voice. If you like chocolate and don’t like growing up then you should come along! It’s on at 6:30pm, in the Salberg Studio of Salisbury Playhouse on Friday 15th February, with other venues to be confirmed later in the year.

It’s not all work though, sometimes I actually take a break to have some non-work-related-fun. Earlier in the week you may have seen pictures of me playing Fifa with my Brazilian mate Pedro, which I obviously won but that’s no surprise, I was always going to. My new switch tray mimics the latest Xbox controller, and it connects to the Xbox using 19 switches if any of you tech geeks want to know. The switch box is actually from Microsoft, and I’m so impressed by the marvellous work Microsoft have done this year, making their technology accessible and more affordable for disabled children and people. The switch tray is from Remap, which is a charity that employs rehab engineers across the country to design and create ideas for individual people.

So all in all 2018 was excellent, dotted with a few stupid mistakes, but always fun-filled learning experiences. My new year resolution is to just be more prepared for the challenges and have more rules and order in my life. What are your new year resolutions?

I hope 2018 was as good for you as it was for me, and that 2019 turns out to be even better. Happy new year to you all!

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Young voices as board members

“Young people can’t be board members.
 Young people can’t be in positions of power.
 Young people don’t have enough life experience.
 Young people don’t understand business.
 Young people don’t know wrong from right.
 Young people don’t understand responsible power.”
Yes we can, yes we do, and companies benefit from having a young voice on their board, a young voice who brings a young perspective, a young voice who represents the present market, a young voice who represents the future.

With a bit of facilitation and today’s thinking, a young voice can be a very valuable board member.  It isn’t rocket science or even far out of the box. It is just a person under the age of 30 bringing something new and different to the table. If you want to access online markets, the current generation, and the next generation, you’re going to need the point of view of a young person.

I sit proudly on the board of trustees for Diverse City, who are real change-makers in the arts industry. They are now sponsoring me to attend OnBoard, a training programme for young board members, run by Rising Arts Agency.

Onboard has brought together a really cool group of young people who are mostly new to the role of being a board member and I am already learning that I have a lot of experience thanks to being on this board, and that Diverse City tick a lot of positive boxes compared to the issues the others raise from their own boards.

As ever, I always appreciate having my voice heard, and being a board member is a very effective way of getting my point of view across, and seeing my opinion actually make a difference in my little bit of the world.
47062844_1949841438434614_566366810358677504_oThe Diverse City board of trustees at one of our all day board meetings at the Esmee Foundation in London – I am so proud to be one of these incredible change-makers

Co-written with Kerry Laws

Summit, a play by Andy Smith

A few weeks ago I watched The Summit written by Andy Smith, and presented by Fuel, at the Shoreditch Town Hall. It had such depth to it, which summed up the international political climate perfectly, but also had nothing to do with it, and in theatre that is a magnificent skill to master.
I can’t tell you what it was about because I literally don’t know but I can tell you it was a rejection of life as we know it, a warning that we need to change, and if we don’t we might just go around in circles.
The writer, Andy Smith, had written a poetic script in three different languages, including sign language, which was stunning. Watching the performers tell us that we live in a society that is broken, and to watch them going round in circles was painful, but it had poignancy to its nail-biting frustration.
The lighting was used to give us hope that something would change, but after the lights came up nothing had changed, and the performers kept us in this loop of words, of expectation and frustration.
Summit could have been about everything or it could have been about nothing, but it questioned what we each individually think about the world. I’m not actually sure whether I enjoyed it or not, but it was thought-provoking, which made it excellent.
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