I finally left my part-time day job on 31 August. Exactly 12 years to the day that I moved to Leeds to start working at Leeds Met Gallery & Studio Theatre. It was a very exciting decision to make. Time will tell if it was the right one.
If I could guarantee my working life would be as varied and creative as these first few weeks have been I would recommend it to everyone but the truth is there’s no way of knowing for sure. My purple patch is coming to an end and the bills need to be paid.
Reading Dan Bye’s blog piece on debt was a real eye opener. Not that I was entirely surprised by the content, it was just a rather stark reminder that there is nothing idyllic about this industry that I am working in. Nor is it likely to get any easier, what with Brexit, a Tory education agenda that devalues arts teaching in schools and a decreasing numbers of students pursuing arts and humanities degrees (I was at a specialist UCAS fair for creative and visual arts in London last week and the numbers were frankly disappointing), no doubt a knock on effect of growing student debt and rising living costs.
It would be easy to feel hopeless, to fear the worst except that this summer I was an assessor for the Total Theatre Awards and I was introduced to so many new artists making work, saw thousands of audience members with an appetite for theatre and worked with passionate advocates for the continuation of our great industry; so I know that it isn’t going away any time soon.
I also know, after years of working in jobs I didn’t really want, there is nowhere else I would rather be.