You might have noticed I have been a little inconsistent around these parts lately. Well I guess, for me, it's consistently inconsistent however, this time I have an excuse. No I'm not just suffering with bloggers block, I'm just pretty full on with work and freelance projects at the moment.
On Monday I posted on Instagram to say I would be on BBC Radio that afternoon, and following that I'd be taking part in a photoshoot for a new show I'm writing, which of course all sounds much more glamorous than it actually is, but a few people asked me what it was I was actually working on. So with that in mind, I thought for this weeks creativity post, I'd give you all an update on the projects I'm currently working on.
My Day Job
Regular readers will know, that while I am still in the same office I have been for the past 2 and a half years, because all my work is dependent on funding, my job changes as projects come and go, but the essence of what I do stays the same. I'm a programmer which means I'm the person that books musicians, artists, and theatre companies into a venue, the difference is that all the decisions I make are led by groups of volunteers I work with. In a nutshell, it's my job to get local people excited about theatre and the arts, and then help them host professional events in their local venue, that might be a village hall, the local market, or the nearest theatre. The projects I do this with have changed, but you can find out a bit more about what I actually do, in this old post.
Found In Blackburn
This is the project which led me to have such an exciting sounding Monday! 'Found In Blackburn' is a project looking to showcase Blackburn;s heritage in a different light. There are 11 artists (I think) involved in total, and they are working on everything from films, to a giant photograph wall which will become a piece of permanent public art. My role in all of this is as a writer and performer, and I'm gathering people's memories of the town to create an alternative walking tour. A bit like a Ghost Tour or a History walk but instead of facts and figures about buildings, I'll be retelling people's memories. It's a chance for people to hopefully see the town they know through other people's lives and bring back old spaces to life. The big day for the project is on the 11th March and I'll be taking people on the tour three times through out the day, but the more visual work will be on exhibition for a month. You can find out more about the project and everyone who is involved here.
Bridging Blackburn is an arts project looking at cultural divide in Blackburn. The project is being ran by a local Youth Organisation that work with young people to create social action projects. In total there are 5 groups of young people working with 5 different artists to make art around the theme of 'Bridging Blackburn'. The group I am working with are divising a piece of theatre that will be performed at the organisations annual dinner. I'm helping them create the show, taking away their ideas, writing a script and then directing them. The youth Organisation isn't an arts organisation meaning that most of the young people have no background in the arts, so part of my job is to get them engaged with the idea of theatre. At the moment we're playing a lot with social media and an almost flash mob style piece.
Brick by Brick
Ok so this one is actually a project that finished last year. again working with the same Youth Group I'm now working with for Bridging Blackburn, but this time to create a piece of Drama around Child Sexual Exploitation. When I first said yes to this piece of work, I was TERRIFIED and waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. For a start my style as a Youth Worker/Theatre Worker is very much still growin and experiencing teething problems, but more than that... Who was I to write a piece on such an important and heavy topic? I won't lie, it was by no means easy but it is one of the things in my career I am most proud of. The ed result was a 20 minute show performed by a cast of 6 teens. ^ teens who had never really performed before, and that made an audience of over a 100 people cry. They then went on to tour the piece into schools, and handled q&a sessions from audience members all by themselves.
The piece was meant to raise awareness of just what CSE is, and after people saw it, several young people came forward to say they thought that might be happening to them or their friends. When I heard that I was blown away, and ever since I've been thinking about how I want my whole creative career to be more hand on and making a difference. The original funders for this piece are now looking for more fnding to make the show longer, and bigger and hopefully take it on tour nationally. So while I'm not working on the piece right now, it's in the back of mind.
Even after 5 years of blogging and a total rebrand last year, I'm still not entirely sure how this blog sits along side my work as a creative/theatre maker. I'm still not sure whether I even want it to! I would like to give it a little ore focus, and share more of my work on here, but it's also my hobby. I want it to remain fun and in some respects casual - so that if I am too busy to post, then that's ok. Do I want this to be part of my work? I'm not really sure, but it's definitely something I think about! What do you think?
I've been running workshops freelance for a couple of years now, everything from children's craft/storytelling workshops to public speaking with confidence workshops. I normally get asked to do these by people who know me from my day job or work with young people, and they usually give me a topic they want covered and I go away and put something together. But I do think this would be a sensible way for me to move forward with my freelance work, if I had a set of workshops ready to go, aimed at how people who don't believe they are creative can use theatre/art skills to help them in any job they have. Or workshops for creatives who need a bit of help selling themselves etc! Ie tried to move away from working with really young children, simply because I don't want to be seen as a children's entertainer/babysitter, but if the right opportunity came along, I'd definitely look at putting workshops for a younger age group together too.
And that's it! There all the things I'm working on at the moment! What do you think? Would you like to hear more about the work I do? Or have ideas for any workshops I could put together or blog posts! What projects are you working on at the moment? Let me know, as always, in the comments below x