I started out my career in the arts being a casual stage technician at the Derby Assembly Rooms, way back in a time of crimped hair, patchouli oil and pixie boots (first time round)
I loved being back stage, feeling the buzz of anticipation, as the show was about to begin. All my school friends had Saturday jobs in cafes, or a supermarket, but I had to be different. I didn’t take up the opportunity which was offered on a plate, to build a career in technical theatre- I wanted to leave home and have adventures.
I moved into community arts and found my inner fairy on frequent occasions when an extra role was need in a community production, or a piece of street theatre, but most of the time now I develop projects for other people to play around in. I work in the arts, but I seem to manage a computer and deliver outputs.
Lip Service, a terrifically funny female duo, have started developing a new way of working. They involve community singers and performers in their shows. Its brave- they have random moments on stage, things sometimes go awry, but they do get a good audience who love the cast the moment they appear and its a brilliant way to engage and involve local people.
I got involved in my second Lip Service production a couple of weeks ago.* The Picture of Doreen Grey is loosely based on the Edgar Allen Poe story, and I mean, loosely, combined with a tale of how older women start to disappear from our TV screens after a certain age. You’re sacked if you’re grey, but you can be as obnoxious as you like as a middle aged bloke.
Its the usual Lip Service larks. I joined the community choir, and hankered after my second chance to be on the Quays theatre stage at the Lowry. Sometimes, you have to be allowed out to play and be daft, its good for the soul.
So it was that I was a teenage school girl, a fairy, a hooligan, a protester, and a squirrel dancing to a seventies disco hit. Four rehearsals, three nights on stage. All full on fun.
Nobody loves a fairy over forty, apparently, but anyone, at any age, deserves the right to find their inner child. After all , if you work in the arts and spend your time encouraging people to take part, to step over the fear threshold, and engage; then you simply have to do it yourself, from time to time.
*The first was Desperate to be Doris.