I’m back babes. Been in hiding since June (but also nurturing all the aspects of my life that help me keep Bluestocking spinning and a roof over my head…). And in the spaces between productions, the questions always come for me.
Making work and creating theatre – is it worth it?
As a woman wanting to develop, evolve and progress as an actor and creative, it was a natural step to start creating my own stuff when it became clear that unless I did that it would be…crickets. How do we get better at our craft without working? Endless classes and training are great but we need to be in front of an audience to practice, play and explore our potential.
I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life watching stories about and for men. We saw so much of it as kids we easily identify with the male gaze and seeing the world through their eyes, especially when it comes to how women are viewed. It began with the creation story, that women come after men, casually made out of one of his ribs. A fucking rib. Thanks.
This story was downloaded into our tiny brains before we had any capacity to critically think and the belief that women are superfluous to men, created for his amusement and pleasure, because he was bored, was sealed. So it goes deep.
Then we have a distinct lack of good, Human stories about women on our screens and stages, so we grow into young women again seeing this lack of true representation reflected everywhere we go. The message reinforced, your stories, your perspective, your opinions, don’t matter. They’re silly, girlish, frivolous. You’re silly, girlish, frivolous. Pink, and glittery, you’ll never have to face anything serious in life, you won’t have bills to pay or tribulations to overcome, just hair extensions and babies. You don’t need real heroines or stories to guide you through the journey of life, no examples of female heroism to inspire or ignite your own inner warrior, you can have some rom coms, there you go. All you really need to worry about is looking good and getting a husband.
We’ll keep the distrust and hate alive in tabloids stories and women’s mags, with WAGS at war and women pitted against each other, Meghan and Catherine, Victoria and Nicole. It’s easier to subdue us if we’re fighting amongst ourselves with internalised self hatred therefore lacking the self belief and love required to achieve our goals, assume a place at the table of power and create some real change.
Stories matter. They are the foundation on which everything is built. So yes, as a working class woman who never went to the theatre until I was in my late teens, with no connections in the industry and really very little idea how to navigate it (yet), it is more than worth it. The stress about selling tickets or how work will be received, the financial pressure of funding everything myself whilst also juggling several jobs to do that – yes, it’s all worth it. Not so I get to show off and strut about the stage being fabulous, though I’m leaning into that, but so we can finally experience women’s stories as important, vital, urgent and necessary to create the change we all want to see in the world. Female rage and the rage of all unrepresented people’s, all those marginalised, demonised and silenced, when tapped into and harnessed, can and will change the world.
So write, create, play. All of us, not just women. It doesn’t matter what gender, orientation or race you are, we are one Humanity. I have my calling to write stories about women but by no means simply for women, they’re for everyone so we get to connect with each other, to feel empathy for each other, surpassing labels, doctrines and all the ways we’re taught to limit ourselves and each other and feel ourselves as separate. That should always be our goal as writers and creatives, to explore what it is to be Human first and foremost, and how we see ourselves in each other. I’m just here to contribute to the rebalancing and one day we won’t even need these conversations, we’ll value and respect all Life and create stories to reflect that, but until then, let’s crack on.
Also exciting news coming very soon about my play I AM NOT A ROBOT!