Inspired by friends taking an opportunity to look back over the year (it being the beginning of a new one) I have tried to identify ten big things that happened. Like Rachel, I don’t want to just blow my own trumpet, so here are some things that I did and some others that I was just lucky to be a small part of. It’s also made me think about how I would like 2014 to be, so there may be a few resolutions tucked in here too.
1) I finished making One, my first full solo performance. FINALLY. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of my peers and in particular the unending encouragement (and patience) of Ellie Harrison.
2) I am getting myself out there. I networked (B-, could do better). I applied for stuff, festivals etc. I performed One twice in 2013 (more dates to come in 2014, for those of you who missed it). The first time was at The Carriageworks in Leeds in June and the second time was at Hatch: A better tomorrow (pic by Julian Hughes) at Embrace Arts in Leicester in October. You can read a summary of that event here.
3) Someone wrote a paper about something I made! I may have mentioned, once or twice, how intensely proud I am to have made The Reservation with Ellie Harrison. It’s pretty much the highlight of my (life) career so far. So I was blown away to discover that someone wanted to write a paper about it. Even more so when I read it and discovered that it refers to our little piece alongside the excellent The Oh Fuck Moment by Chris Thorpe and Hannah Jane Walker. This paper was given at a conference in Hull by Helen Iball – who also, in that small fucking world way, just happens to be my personal tutor from my degree – and we hope it will be published this year…
4) I read more. Not just books, I read articles and kept an eye on the news. I got angry about/with the Everyday Sexism feed. I read Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman, laughed, cried and realised I am a feminist, despite my trepidation. I read the Hunger Games trilogy and was engrossed. I read all three within a month and reminded myself how much I love to get lost in a story. So in 2014 I intend to read more and more (I have already finished one book so far this year).
5) I went and played with another company for fun. I applied to spend a week working with emerging company Encounter Productions in Stockton in July. They were doing some development work for a new piece called On Knowledge. It was unpaid but I needed a break from my own head and this was exactly what I got. I was given the freedom to play, express, voice opinions, laugh, move and work physically. After a year of working predominantly alone and on my own project it was really enjoyable to hand over the reigns to someone else and do what they wanted me to do. I also met a great bunch of artists and got to hang out at one of my favourite venues, ARC (where I will be performing later this year!).
6) I injured myself. After my week with Encounter, as a result of being painfully unfit, and the fact that my body still thinks it is a dancer so tries to do more than it should because it knows how, and because I had already hurt my arm earlier in the year – lugging 9 tape machines to and from rehearsals – I got what I now know to be Golfer’s Elbow. I couldn’t even lift a saucepan of water without intense pain shooting down my arm and making my hand ache. This meant I stopped playing badminton with friends at work, doing boxing on the Wii and, sporadically, going to the gym and swimming. I am not a fitness freak. I have to push myself to exercise and so finding things I enjoy doing like badminton is important. My arm is much better so I have bought myself a badminton racquet as a treat in the sales. I will get fit(ter) in 2014.
7) I saw some great theatre. And the year ended on a particular high, bidding goodbye to 2013 with Jane Packman Company’s The Wake. This was a everything that a wake should be. Served up with a drink or two we enjoyed a communal sharing of loss, regrets, happy memories and an opportunity to let go of the past and look forward to the future. Just gorgeous. A perfect way to end the year.
8) I thought about the future and made promises to myself. A big part of One is about thinking about how I want to live my life and my independence but I also long to find a lasting partnership with the ‘right person’. So, as well as the vows I make onstage every time I perform the show I also made a promise to another performer as part of her piece at Hatch. Somewhere in Krissi Musiol’s box of many postcards, is a card from me to myself, which I will receive in ten year’s time, which says that I intend to find them between now (2013) and then (2023). Watch this space.
9) I missed my friends. Most of my very best friends do not live in Leeds and I do. I was very skint in 2013, mainly due to being so focussed on the show and only working part time, so I did not see my best and oldest friends as often as I would have liked. I think it is OK. Most of them get it. Some of them work in the arts too so they were also very (in some cases stupidly, barely-in-the-country) busy. But I also missed some stuff I didn’t want to miss. In 2014 I need to find ways to be there for the important, as well as the essential, stuff. But…
10) I went to three weddings. Some of my best friends got married this year. Two sets of couples who had been together more than 10 years finally made it down the aisle and one couple even topped it off by announcing they were having a baby! They were days overflowing with joy and spent with some of my favourite people – there was bad dancing, some singing, champagne and sleepy children. The third wedding was on New Year’s Eve and what a lovely way to see out one year and see in the next! Much better than just any old New Year party.
2013 wasn’t too bad, despite external turmoils. Although there was plenty to be angry about, there was also, always, those people who make it worthwhile. No doubt 2014 will bring with it it’s own challenges but I hope they will be good ones, and that I will learn and grow. There’s still so much to do.