As I sit down to write a quick reflection on how 2017 has been for me as a performer, I can't help but feel INCREDIBLY lucky and blown away by it all!
I have been in 9 plays/public performances this year. I don't know how on Earth that happened, but each one has been unique and given me the chance to develop my skills immensely. On top of that, I started off the year with my directing debut of Twelfth Night in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which was stressful and thrilling in equal measure. I was so proud with the resulting performances! It taught me a lot about directing and I particularly enjoyed breathing new life/melodies into the songs with Ben Churm. I'm proud to have done it, but definitely learned that I am much more at home as an actor/singer :D
I have also managed to perform in 4 theatres (a surprising rarity in the life of a non-famous actor :p), along with reprising the role of Eva in the incredible Holding Baby by Jan Watts, for a Social Worker Conference at Birmingham City University. It was amazing seeing the effect it had yet again, and that leads me onto the next success of 2017. Along with my two inspirational and incredible friends/partners, Adaya Henry and Edward Loboda, I formed our theatre company Rag City. We performed two wonderful short plays by Jan Watts to launch the company, and have been devising and developing ever since. Jan has done us the honour of letting us organise a tour of Holding Baby for next year, where we hope to raise awareness of Kinship Care families and what needs to be done to support them in our community.
I also worked with Imagineer Productions, and the acclaimed Polish company Teatr Biuro Podrozy, in a spirited and ground-breaking production of Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale' in the new CITY OF CULTURE 2021, Coventry. This was my first ever piece of outdoor theatre and was amazing along with being incredibly atmospheric. It involved lots of physical theatre as well as guitar playing and singing, so really utilised my skills and pushed them beyond any previous level.
I finished the year with yet another panto with Northeast Producers - this work may not seem glamourous but it is absolutely fulfilling and one of the reasons I enjoy performing so much: bringing theatre to people who don't get the chance to see it very often and seeing it brighten their day (for the most part!). My absolute highlight this year was going to a Brain Injury unit in Birmingham and, once the panto was complete and our carol service had commenced, hearing a young man who never speaks burst into Silent Night. Two members of staff were brought to tears and it was such a moving moment.
Along with all this, I've started working with Froggle Parties which is an enjoyable way to spend my weekends. If anyone needs a children's entertainer around the Midlands, do go to https://www.froggleparties.com/ and ask for me. You can also get in touch with me for a discount code beforehand :D
FINALLY, I have had 2 West End auditions this year. The first one, for Mamma Mia, was great fun and I sang a couple of songs for the panel before being sent home. The second, more recently, was an open audition for Bat Out of Hell, where I got through the initial audition, vocal recall and through to the dance audition. Again, I was sent home, but I was incredibly happy and motivated to have got down to the last 20 girls in an open audition. It has given me a confidence boost, so I'm going to keep an eye out for some more open auditions, along with refreshing my dancing with some much-needed classes!
2017 has been utterly wonderful, and more than I could have ever asked for. I also recently moved in with my lovely partner and have enjoyed every moment with him, despite us both being very busy!
So, I am left a bit bewildered now after reflecting on this year. I will keep working hard and developing my skills, and hopefully I can build on this years successes and learn from the mistakes I felt I'd made to enable 2018 to be even better! Thanks to everyone who's been to see me in something this year - it makes such a difference to have support in the audience and know that people are still interested in supporting local theatre, especially when it is on a small scale. Thanks also to my friends and family for being so amazing and making it so much easier to stay positive making a living doing what I love, even when times get hard and I get demoralised. I hope I can give the same support for all of you <3