they grow up so quick…

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This week I celebrate my first birthday. I know what you’re thinking, I’m pretty tall for a 1 year old, but as you can see from the photo above, I’ve always looked exactly the same, so what’s another year passing?

Well, some years tend to be more significant than others, and my first year as a Culturapede is definitely one of note.

For a start, working at Culturapedia has been my first “real” job. A job with an office, a line manager and a monthly pay cheque. While as I explained in this post, the job is far from ‘normal’, it has definitely felt like I’ve taken one step further into being an adult. I also moved out of home and rented a flat all by myself for the first time, another milestone, my parents are happy to see me reach! Even if they do miss my cooking!

But aside from ticking off two of the biggys on the ‘becoming a grown up to do list’ what else have I, or rather have we, done in the past year?

Well, I only have to show you my ever growing collection of notebooks stuffed with lists and notes and plans for world domination, for you to get the inkling that this might have been a busy year! After all June 2nd doesn’t just mark the first birthday of Jack, Matt and I but also of Plugged In, which has gone from being an Arts Council bid trapped inside the pages of proposed targets and ideas to a fully grown, live and kicking project.

This time last year we were faced with empty in-boxes and 18 months worth of theatre to programme. I’d never programmed a theatre show before and to say I was a little nervous would be an understatement. But we got on with it and after our first season of shows, it quickly began to feel like we knew what we were doing.

We’ve organised community groups and supported them to host some amazing theatre in four council run venues. We’ve had everything from live owls to physical theatre. We’ve introduced Nelson to magic, and Darwen to circus. I’ve become a dab hand at spreadsheets and Matthew can decorate a gingerbread man in 2.3 seconds flat! We’ve hosted workshops, coffee mornings and back stage tours. We curated a museum of happy things, created the worlds first speed murder mystery and found out that no matter what Pinterest tells you… You can’t make a dragon out of a paper cup. Plugged In has taken on a life, neither us, nor the Arts Council thought it could and it’s only ever gathering momentum.

Not only that, but after a year of working together, I finally understand Matt’s jokes! In fact worryingly, I find myself making Matt style jokes on a regular basis. But I guess if you put two people in a car and drive them up and down the M65 enough times, that’s bound to happen.

But my Matt jokes aren’t the thing I’m proudest of this year, it’s the fact that we manage to get so much done whilst having fun. Despite the fact that I’m prone to making too many lists and getting too few hours of sleep, I really wouldn’t rather work anywhere else.

Unless of course you happen to know of another office in the country where you get to eat home made cakes with mystery vegetables whilst programming Theatre Ad Infinitum in Blackburn? Or maybe you know of somewhere that holds meetings in a vintage decked out caravan to organise a double decker bus filled with dancers from New Zealand to drive around Lancashire?

I didn’t think so.

I might only be turning 1, but I already know what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to be a Culturapede.

Happy birthday to myself, Jack and Matt, see you on the other side of jelly and ice cream mountain.

Stephie x