What’s going on?!

Hello. What’s going on? Well, it’s what was going to be this year but now it’s going to be next year!

I’ve been writing shows for next year. I’ve been writing Planted Symphony with Drake Music. It’s fantastic and will be fantastic for you to go and see next summer time. It will be fantastic to get out and experience some art. It’s going to be lovely. I’ll post more about Planted Symphony next year so you’ll able to find out what it is and where you can see it.

I’m also making a show about climate change for Inside Out Dorset festival, interviewing people and answering the question ‘people and the climate emergency: what happens?’ to find out what we need to do to really tackle climate emergency and adapt our culture around it.

You might recognise me in a film on Youtube soon, you’ll have to see if you can spot me. In January, I’ll be posting 5 films that theatre companies have made this year and one will have me in. I’m going to challenge you to see if you can guess which one I worked on and made a cameo appearance in.

I’ll also be bringing out a poetry book for you to listen to or read. So you can look forward to that too. I’m looking forward to seeing theatre again, reviewing it for you, and making my own performances that you can come and see. What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Performing at Inside Out Dorset Festival 2018

Christmas Pudding Planning

Hey there! No swimming pool yet for me to try my walker on custard. I agree custard is for eating as well, but walking in a walker on custard sounds very fun. 

I’ve just been picking out my Christmas dessert menu. Yes I have a Christmas dessert menu. I don’t really care about the dinner. Turkey is a dry bit of rubbish anyway. So the Christmas dessert menu is what I really care about.

This year we’ve ordered a chocolate and salted caramel roulade for the 23rd December, for Christmas Eve we have a lemon cheesecake (well we have to have some fruit in there somewhere, but it will be with lots of cream so it looks as unhealthy as it is), later on that evening we’ll have a chocolate and ginger moose with chocolate liqueur, and on Christmas Day we’ll have a Christmas Pudding just to set it on fire.

I’ve never got why you would burn your pudding on purpose. The only thing crazier than that is buying an x box cardboard box for £900 on eBay. I wouldn’t even buy a new X Box for that let alone just the cardboard box. The actual X box is £450 from all known respectable retail establishments and organisations so it makes no sense. Rant over. Back to puddings.

The other choices are chocolate and orange bread and butter pudding. Fantastic chocolate orange flavours. You can put anything with it – custard, ice cream, anything saucy and sweet.

For boxing day you can just have the leftovers from the last two days while watching or playing whatever you like on TV.

Walking on Custard

Hello everyone, how are you doing in this second lockdown?

It doesn’t feel much different to when we weren’t in lockdown except that I can’t go to the cinema to see a midday showing of some rubbish film that I want to see.

I used to do that after the second lockdown. There was no-one around and I could really enjoy a milkshake and a film. That’s the life – milkshakes and films. I just wanted to get out of the house. Sometimes you have to get away from home to really appreciate it.

I actually took my walker out and went on the sand too. It was possibly the worst idea of my life, until I got onto the wet sand and then I could actually move at my normal speed. It was a bit of an exploration that kind of worked. I’m thinking next time custard!

Has anyone got an old pool we could fill up with custard so I can try wheeling on it? They said on the TV show ‘Brainiac: Science Abuse’ that it would work, but that was about 15 years ago. What do you think? Shall I try it in my walker? If you’re up for trying it, let me know!

Well that adventure led to a crazy scientific idea. Maybe I could try driving my power wheelchair on tons of chocolate flecks, like a woodland path?

FREE Online Event on Monday: Signal Fires

Hello everyone!! Here’s a bit of good news for you…

It’s a strange new world but fun is just around the corner. I’m going to be performing Monday night at 8pm as part of an online event called Signal Fires, hosted by Jamie Beddard and Extraordinary Bodies.

It’s going to be jam-packed with fun and amazing stories by extraordinary people who can show you a good night in. Screw netflicks and chill. We’ll put on a better night for you all.

Pop a reminder in your calendar for 8pm Monday and watch us live at here on YouTube >>>

You’ll be entertained for an hour for free and we’ll create our signal fire to celebrate reconnection through story telling. It’s going to be a jamboree that you won’t want to miss.

The line up includes: Ted Barnes, Kandaka Moore, The Shouting Mute, John Kelly, Karen Spicer, Claire Hodgson, and Eilis Bevan-Davis.

The Future of Performing Arts – Q&A

Hey everyone. I was recently asked to be part of a conference to discuss the future of performing arts, and I thought the questions were brilliant. So I wanted to share them with you as a blog post, to get you thinking! Plus I’ve included the answers I gave in the panel discussion –

1)  How can youth arts and arts education play a role in creating a more diverse and inclusive arts industry?

Great question. Arts education is very important for everyone. Arts can communicate and be a discussion for so many things. It can tell individual stories and explore characters, human rights and climate change. Art can reflect big world issues.

For me telling stories is a way of having a safe space to work things out about the world. Arts can bring people together to do that and it is a very special and valuable experience for everyone to have. Arts education and youth arts play an important role in making sure that every young person can explore themselves creatively. Sadly this is not the case with all youth arts work.

Could you tell us about your route to becoming a professional writer and performer?  How did arts opportunities in school and alongside it support you to develop as an artist and move into professional work? 

Opportunities made my career and they still do today. To get an opportunity you do have to put your hand up. But don’t be afraid of doing so. 

2)  I’d like to discuss able-bodied actors playing disabled characters (and winning awards for doing so). What’s your perspective on this debate?  Should able-bodied actors take on these roles? 

This is a challenging question and a question that I have been thinking about a lot over the last few years. Personally I can see a problem in the disabled narratives in theatre and film. Which stops disabled people getting those disabled roles. For me  I would like to ask what are we aiming for? Do we want disabled actors just get disabled roles. Or do we want to see a disabled James Bond, a disabled Oliver Twist, a disabled person in a Marvel film, which reports are saying we are very close to.

I think there is a problem with the disabled narrative, which stops disabled people getting disabled roles because a large chunk of disabled stories doesn’t enable a disabled people to play the role. I think it goes much deeper than casting. I think it is a narrative issue as well. We need disabled writers, disabled producers as well as disabled actors.

3)  What kinds of support mechanisms have enabled you to work professionally?  What advice would you give to others about starting out and finding their support mechanisms, networks or communities? 

Find a community and love it. See what you can learn. Meet your work colleagues and have creative explorations with them. Community doesn’t have to just be local, there are online communities too, so distance and accessibility can be gotten over.

There are so many people out there ready and willing to connect and support others, you just have to look for them, and that can be as simple as going online and searching for the kind of people you want to find to connect with and work with. Community and support is so important right now, so let’s not lose that because of social distancing.

4)  What does the performance industry of the future look like?  Where do we go from here? 

I think we need to create work on and off line and create the new normal with everyone in the core of the new world. I think adding online performances and workshops would actually make this work more accessible than ever before.

A lot of us are more comfortable staying at home right now, and working from home, so moving this world online makes more sense, and it can be a great new way of starting conversations and building new relationships and connections. Performances can be livestreamed or recorded and shared online which would cover both online and offline audiences.