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.

Poems from the Writing Workshop

We had a really great writing workshop last week, and the poems were so good that we asked the writers if we could share them.

The theme was food and this is what a couple of our writers came up with…

Okay so it’s a Saturday and I’m feeling like picking me up a weekend treat so I pop into my local McDonald’s and order a quarter pounder with cheese meal. A few minutes later it arrives at my table and I go to take a bite out of the burger and instantly feel deep regret and the urge to want to reverse time and tell my younger less experienced with knowledge self about what’s going to happen. Oh boy oh boy how much I hate pickles! They are revolting and make me want ro be sick whenever I see someone munching down on a pickle. It makes no sense to me to put a pickle in a burger. It just does not go together. When will they learn! It needs to go. It must. 

By Josh Ward

Marmite, is it made of mites?

This might sound like a stupid and bizarre question, but I don’t think it is.

The reason I ask this is because it tastes so strong. So potent. So vile. 

An awful aftertaste that lingers in my mouth hours later. 

How can people love it, JUST HOW???!!!

As a child, the thought of tasting Marmite just gave me a fright.

The only way to avoid the terrible taste of it was to put up a fight. 

A fight against my whole mouth being defeated.

Defeated and overpowered by that tedious tang. 

It’s now in chocolate.

IN CHOCOLATE??!!! HOW CAN THAT BE???!!!!

Just how can such a delicious food be ruined by this terrible tripe?

It’s also in peanut butter too.

Great, another favourite food of mine ruined!

Maybe it’s just me?

Maybe there was something wrong with my tastebuds as a child?

Maybe they’ve now changed? Matured? 

I decide to find out once and for all to see if that this is the case. 

I get out a spoon. I get out a jar of Marmite. 

I open the jar of Marmite.

I dunk the spoon into it and scoop a fair portion into my mouth. 

YUCK! I put the spoon down into the sink. I spit it out. 

It’s definitively not me, it’s Marmite. 

By Parisa Tavassolian

If you’re keen to get involved in one of The Shouting Mute Online Writing Workshops, or if you have any writing you would like us to share on your behalf email dave@theshoutingmute.com

The Shouting Mute leading a creative writing workshop at 1Voice

Hello all. Happy Monday! There are still two places left in the online writing workshop this Wednesday at 6pm, and we’ve dropped the price to £3 payable via PayPal. If you want some food themed writing fun, with tips and tasks, grab your spot today!

We’ll be writing poems and you’ll get feedback on your writing from me, The Shouting Mute, and my creative enabler Kerry, who is also a writer. It will be fantastic to get together for some creative fun as a group, and you can munch on your favourite snack while we write, and tell us all about it if you like. Email dave@theshoutingmute.com to grab your spot.