#MeToo

I wrote this in response to #MeToo

...that we put one foot in front of the other, that we keep breathingin and breathing out, that we offer and accept love, that we movethrough our days with kindness and generosity and compassion, put foodon the table, pay bills, change the bed linen, get our children toschool on time, nudge them into adulthood, tend our elders (who haveoften/sometimes been the unkind, the cruel, the ignorant, the look theother way, the unavailable, the violent) 
 That we (still) laugh anddance and watch and appreciate...create, talk, draw, sculpt, invent,  imagine, solve and resolve.   That we make enduring friendships, wemourn, we recover our injuries...we go beyond...we go beyond that whichwas expected, that which tried to diminish us...we rose, we rise; thankyou Maya Angelou for giving us the mantra, the poetry
 That still I rise ( that still we rise).

Lester

A man I loved very much has died. His name is Lester and he is responsible for the beautiful tattoos on my body.

We separated about 10 years ago and he found new and enduring love with Sarah Boyes, seeming happier and more invigorated with his life than ever before. He finally found the way to his art practice and had just completed a three-year fine art degree at Brighton University. He was a father to Annis Laidlaw and grandfather to her son Rowan. He was a good and true and lovely person; handsome and stylish, flawed and fallible, kind and funny. He was always engaged with trying to understand his life underpinned by a grappling with the legacy of the early death of his father.

He was a key figure in Brighton, beautifully, generously and ethically tattooing so many people either as a freelancer or when running Temple Tatu in Boyces Street or working at Holy Cow in Eastbourne. There are so many of us who have his work and legacy on our bodies.

He wore his beliefs (and his heart) on his sleeve and lived a life that honoured them, he believed in cooperative living and had little interest in money or time-keeping.

A great polymath who knew lots about lots of things with a fierce and political intelligence that wouldn't be obvious on first meeting but, like many of his qualities, would gradually reveal itself. He had an artists' eye and ear and an ability to unearth eccentric, forgotten or ignored musical treasures.

The reason for his untimely and unexpected death is unknown at the moment and I am praying and hoping that he died easily, without pain or anguish. Death is so very hard but harder when it comes unexpectedly and with such stealth; provoking thoughts of all that was and all that might have been, lost opportunities and precious memories

 

It is a terrible terrible loss deeply felt. My thoughts are with Sarah and Annis, his sister Karen, his mother and all those who loved him.

Couple of things

I will be performing in Deborah Pearson's 'Filibuster' at Somerset House this Saturday.  The Filibuster is a 12 hour durational performance piece that takes place in the grand arch at Somerset House between 10am and 10pm on Saturday, September 2nd.  There will be 12 performers over this period each speaking spontaneously, tackling the baggage around public discourse and women. I begin speak 19.00 - 20.00.  Audience members are invited to come and go over the course of 12 hours.

In October I am performing in Any Table Any Room a new work by Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion.  The show is at The Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts on October 17th. More information and to book tickets here

Stewart Lee

I had the pleasure and honour to provide the sign language interpretation for Stewart Lee's marvellous show 'Content Provider'.  I wrote this as I began my preparation..

I watched the stand-up comedian Stewart Lee at Brighton Dome last night. I will watch the show again tonight & Saturday and then on Sunday will be there providing the sign language interpretation for the performance. It is the first time I have attempted to find linguistic & cultural equivalence within this domain and, as with any assignment, I begin by thinking about purpose and intention...the underpinning meaning(s) and then how to find relevance, within that intention, for sign language users...terms of reference, assumed knowledge, plays on words, shared experience...what is he trying to say and why? Then the second layer of actual linguistic choices; this sign or that one, that sentence construction or that? Which will resonate with the rhythms of his speech, with the rhythms of his comedy timing? How to deal with proper nouns?

The third layer: the 'geography/geographies'...Sign language is a spatial language and worlds can be constructed in the space in front, above and beside me...topographical space and syntactic space...I can carve and place, refer and re-refer...who and what are the key players in this text? Who or what does he keep returning and why?
The fourth layer: when to pause the interpretation and allow the visual imagery/facial expression/movement carry the narrative? Is there a point in a language-heavy evening when language is no longer needed to carry the message? Is there a message?
The fifth layer: will he want to acknowledge my presence? How do I hold myself within his kingdom...Are there moments of play together?
Layer six; how do I physically prepare to deliver 2 hours of material? the best shoes? Yoga mat, water, stretching and strengthening...
Layer seven, eight, nine and beyond are all about being; being there, being present, being receptive, being ready, being prepared to fly and travel with and within the marvelous brain of Stewart Lee

May 2016

May is coming to its end and I've just had a birthday.  We performed 'Can I Start Again Please' at the Brighton Festival and also at Mayfest.  The show was well received, with near enough sell-out shows with appreciative audiences.  At the beginning of the month I resurrected  'Still Life:An Audience with Henrietta Moraes' as part of the Phoenix Gallery & Studios Open Studio weekend.  It was very nice to be with Henrietta again and, as always, some beautiful drawings were made during the performance.

I was remotely involved in an event entitled 'I'm Still Standing' as part of Mayfest organised by artist collective Residence.  I wrote a letter read by Astrid Breel and that reading can be seen here

From June 6th Can I Start Again Please begins a two-week run at Battersea Arts Centre.  I feel huge pressure to make the run a success in terms of audience numbers and it is all hands on deck to make that happen.  

April 2016

I am currently preparing for the tour of 'Can I Start Again Please' and looking forward to being part of The Brighton Festival, May Fest, the programme at North Wall Oxford, The Arc Stockton, Salisbury Playhouse and Chichester University.  More dates are being confirmed for the Autumn and we are hoping that our inclusion in the international showcase 'caravan' will allow the show to be seen beyond the British Isles.

I am starting work on my new work for 2017, which has been commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre. I will be in residence at BAC during the run of 'Can I Start Again Please' developing the work I was a participant in the MAKE residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland in February which kick-started my thinking.  More soon including (I hope) a title.

I am co-directing a new work with dancer Antonia Grove/ProbeProject entitled 'Now You See It'.  There will be three preview performances (June/July) that conclude the initial creation period.

Now You See It is a dialogue between wonder and reason, reality and imagination, and presents the internal universe of a woman reconsidering her strategies for survival. It’s about navigating the relationship between visibility and absence;  imagining scenarios that have never happened; interrogating facts, unravelling answers, thinking big, looking at the small and deciding what to trust and hold on to. 
 

December 2015

Can I Start Again Please has been successful in gaining Grants for the Arts funding to tour 'Can I Start Again Please'.  We will begin at the Southbank Centre on February 6th and 7th and the tour will also take us to Battersea Arts Centre for a two-week run from June 6th - 18th.  We will also perform in Brighton, Manchester, Bristol, Salisbury, Oxford, Stockton and Chichester.  Details of booking tickets can be found by clicking here

During the run at Battersea Arts Centre in June, I will be in residence for the full two weeks to contemplate my new work which has a working title of 'the lengths we go to'.  Prior to that I will spend 8 days as a participant in the MAKE residency facilitated by Theatre Ireland Forum and hosted at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig,

I have been asked to be part of the Royal Court's Big Idea, a new strand of work at the Royal Court, offering audiences radical thinking and provocative discussion inspired by the work on stage. A new play by Caryl Churchill will open on 21st January and I am writing a 10 minute work to be shown after 'Escaped Alone' on February 23rd.  I will be performing the work with actor Caroline Hunt.