It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, but a new year is always a good time to reflect and to get back on all sorts of wagons. This year has been as turbulent as 2020 in many ways (I have Covid as I write this) but looking back on it all together, this has been one of the most challenging and productive years of my life. Writing this post is just as much for me to process and reflect as anything, but if you’re interested in what I’ve been up to this year, here it is!
WIZARDS AGAINST LIZARDS ONLINE
A huge thing that happened this year was developing and releasing online Wizards Against Lizards. This was a huge job for so many reasons; learning to build websites, hire actors and all sorts of unknowns. In my house on my own, with just my computer and some costumes to work with, I could put away all my hangups around my lack of conventional theatre training or any other ‘outsider’ anxieties, and just work with what I had; before I knew it I had a fully interactive, 90 minute, 1 woman show. Wizards received over 50 5* reviews and was reviewed really nicely by Hivemind, Room Escape Artist and No Proscenuim. It was co-opted by corporate agencies and played so many times, the largest was for an audience of over 200 Lizard hunters. I’m winding that side of things down now, keen to spend a bit of time in the ‘real’ world, but I’ll always be grateful for the confidence this experience gave me in my own creativity and resourcefulness.
This year I hosted many Jury Duty’s, Nonsense Olympics, Zoom Karaoke sessions, Digital taxi rides, Galactic Pub Quizzes and even some bingo in the metaverse, giving me a sense of purpose, a creative outlet and many laughs over various lockdowns. Another online event which contributed so much to this year was working on Rogue Beacon’s ARG ‘Pictures of Gwen’ which was a beautiful experience reimagining what an ARG storyline could be.
PILGRIMAGE FOR NATURE
I helped produce the amazing Jolie Booth’s Pilgrimage for Nature. A group of artists and performers walked from London to Glasgow for the COP26 - it was nice to do something towards climate activism as I don’t feel like I do as much as I could.
WIZARDS AGAINST LIZARDS IRL!
Festivals actually happened this year(!!!) and I was lucky enough to bring Wizards back to Shambino 2021, taking it immediately onto Camp Bliss Festival where I also organised a visit from the Postal Posse. The Wizards tour was a whirlwind of challenge, creativity, love and connection, I will never forget that month and what we made, it was crazy. I love my Wizard crew more than anything. Huge thanks to Morgan at Shambala and Anthony and Mark at Camp Bliss. Wizards is confirmed for Shambala 2022 and I can't wait.
SUPER NOTHING TV ONLINE AND LIVE AT BALTER
For the first part of the year, Super Nothing TV continued to be a major source of comfort, a creative outlet and a way to spend time with my friends until our last home stream in May (as everyone started to go out again). A curveball was when Balter Festival invited us to install our live TV studio at their festival. We streamed for 13 hours a day live, whatever weird thing we wanted to do happened; oil wrestling, themed DJ sets, auctions, Robot wars; genuinely whatever we wanted. There were so many unique problems to be solved and the learning curve was the steepest I’ve experienced. This was one of the most creative and outrageously fun things I have ever done, to see our lockdown idea born into something physical (and frankly, much bigger than any of us expected) was amazing and am so so grateful for that weekend! We are also confirmed for Balter 2022!
This is where all of the things I learnt this year came together and starting pointing towards something really cool. I was called to work on a project called Abergem, as they saw my Lizards at Shambino and knew I had been working online too making interactive theatre. I was tasked with workshopping a lab of artists, taking all of their ideas together to create an interactive theatre game that would engage young people in Aberyswyth, rehearsing the performers and installing that game in less than a month in November. After festival season I wasn’t expecting such a big challenge again so quickly, but I had the time of my life getting this together! This was my first paid role as a director, the team was amazing, I made great friends and had so much fun! After this job I wasn't sure where to go next with things, but less than two weeks later I had another job interview lined up...
Abergem is partnered with Boomtown and they brought my attention to the Street Venues Production Coordinator role going at the festival. I interviewed and got the job! This means that I am moving from Brighton to Bristol in just a couple of weeks. Although overwhelming to think about at times (it also means that I am retiring as Theatre lead of the Postal Posse venue which is VERY sad) it feels like everything I've done over the last few years has led up to this role and I cannot wait. I am so excited to be working to bring such a fantastical and world-renowned experience together in 2022. I have never worked on such a large scale project, mostly tinkering with my own grass roots productions, so to be part of a larger machine will be an amazing learning experience. I cannot wait to see what will happen, what I’ll learn and where it will lead me to next.
SIDE HUSTLES; SONDER MEDIA
Due to all the streaming and telly making from the start of lockdown, I got further into working as a video editor for media company, Sonder. This has been really fun and interesting, editing is super creative and weirdly calming. This year we produced tonnes of video including the London School of Economics festival and all the video coverage for Brighton Festival. We also live-streamed 2 corporate conferences, one for a week in Munich, none of which I’d have the first clue how to do if it wasn’t for lockdown and the last 2 years. I’m super grateful to Summer at Sonder for teaching me this skill which I can hopefully have a hand in for the rest of my working days.
RETIRING FROM TEACHING
The last important thing that happened this year was that I quit teaching after 10 years. All of my income is now freelance; this is huge. I enjoyed parts of teaching but my dopamine-driven brain feels so much more comfortable in project based work with tangible goals rather than the circular, repetitive rhythms of salaried teaching. I am really grateful for everything I learnt whilst teaching, leadership, structure, organisation, attention to detail and confidence. I also really miss being around teenagers, they have a life-force and creative passion I attempt to hold onto myself.
In summary it's been quite a ride! Looking forward to seeing what happens in 2022 and hopefully bringing you some strange and wonderful experiences.
Big love and Happy New Year xxx