I’m in the middle of my tour and I have to say I like this way of life . I like all the stuff that comes with, the driving vans the loading up my props that just look like a pile of junk, I like getting to venues and making new friends with the crew and staff, I like pretending I’m meditating when really I’m having a sneaky nap, I like pretending I’m doing a full vocal warm up when all I can remember from training in acting at Manchester Poly, is diaphragm flapping and trying to resonate vowel sounds through my body …
i like doing the work, the tech the runs been able to focus even though we were up against a brass band rehearsal and the local Morris dancers rehearsal at the Trades, god I love you Hebden Bridge, keeping it real.
I like taking the breath and telling myself I can do this and asking the Universe to protect me before I go on stage, even though I have an on off relationship with the Universe, these are my habits my rituals, so that I can get on stage and be honest and share this story and hope that I connect with you, that’s all .so this is where I am, I’m doing and re doing and practising and Someone said 10,000 hours is about right, so I better crack on, and you could book my show and that would add more hours to my practise, for now I will do it in the lounge. Till Hull on Thursday .
I had a ball performing at Mothers Ruin on Friday 12th September, you know when you’re in Flow, and you totally let go on stage (not like that, let go creatively silly!) But in the build up to this outing I was dealing with the ‘tricky second show’, which is totally like the ‘tricky second album’. I was blocked, creatively constipated, stuck, down, confuzzled, apathetic and just plain “what have I got to say, about anything, a big zero of nothing, that’s what.” And so when, 2 hours before the show, I decided to give my self an award on stage to get me ON to the stage, I found a plastic bunny fromPoundland that lights up – bloody brilliant – and that would be my ON. I accepted the Bunny Of Hope Award in recognition of a life time achievement in the search for Happiness…and so my new show “What the F**k is Happiness” was born….and the making of the Tricky Second Show has begun.
It’s not over. And it’s collectives like Mothers Ruin that are giving people like me – the folk who are makers in their own kitchens, lounges, bedrooms, the daydreamers on the bus, the people who think they’ve got nothing much to say but sometimes find themselves on stage having a collective experience of joyful silliness and laughter – the chance to feel part of a community, a collective, a place to belong. So thank you Mothers Ruin, thank you the open warm audience of Kings Arms and thank you to the Bunny Of Hope. And I would like to send this award out to all of us today who are feeling a bit Blah…
Anxiety Festival time is upon me, in 5 days, and 3 hours. So if you are free do come to the show. The Albany Saturday 28th June at 9pm
Thank you to Ouch for having me on their podcast programme, and I just listening back to it and I do seem to laugh a lot. I often think I’m quite flat, but maybe I’m not as flat- as in low, as I think I am, self awareness not one of my strong points turns out!! Had to resort to getting out on my bike this morning to cycle 5 miles to sit in aCafe with a frothy coffee and had to read Eckhart Tolle’s book on being in the now, and that acceptance of who you are and where you are the only way to feel the joy of life. So to all those fellow people who find mornings hard or even any part of the day or night hard or just find life a bit hard right now read this. ” The joy of Being ,which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form,possession,achievement,person,or event- through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you- EVER. It emanates from the formless dimensions within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.”
Thank you Eckhart …It just makes sense, well to me it did….So put that on your salad plate and drown it in Salad Cream !!!
My home town gig at York St Johns, went down really well, tears, laughter, tick tick. Its so great to have chance to build something to have space the develop a performance stride, to find a flow, and be able to tweek and play. But I was a bit thrown by how was emotional I felt on stage to be performing my show in York where it all happened, and so close to where my Mum lives, and spooky to be so close, one street away from where she worked at York District Hospital, where she walked into town on her lunch even when she had a bout of Agraphobia, she made herself walk into town, to face it . It was also spooky that a man on the front row, right there in the centre was a lecturer in Theatre and Mental Health – it couldn’t be more coincidental , Theatre and Mental Health, and he specializes in this, and that’s wonderful, and even more wonderful he asked me would I come back and do the show again for the students and some NHS people, so I said YES of course, so thank you Dr Nick Rowe,( a safe pair of feet).
So here are a couple of lovely pics thank you to my bezzie Ruby Porter for taking these on I might say a tricky camera, thank you Roo for coming out of retirement to take them !!
And thank you Ashley for being the best director and keeping me calm and focused and having the best Kate Bush album The Dreaming on CD in your bag for the journey there and back!!!
Well it was a great start to my tour at Slung Low in Holbeck, Leeds. It started with the most lovely welcome by Porl and Allan and Lucy and Billy the dog, a cafetiere a coffee and home made brownies on a bench in a yard full of plants growing in baths and feeling like you’ve just met up with old friends is not the usual welcome you get at a Theatre !! The philosophy of HUB and Slung Low is also so unexpected and liberating, its a space that theatre makers like myself can use for free, to make to rehearse or just show, and the audience are also free to pay what they feel on the night, and I think they felt alright after seeing my show because the Jar was pretty full, they don’t do massive marketing and spend 1000’s on that, instead they use the web and good old fashioned talking to people, and most people come to one thing then see whats on next via a good old fashioned poster and come again and tell others. So thank you for hosting me, its my kind of place, refreshing, alternative almost from another era, it reminded me of the 80’s of arts centres of people making theatre to say something, of politics of passion and of creating beautiful things on stage…oh AND for those of us in our 40’s who’d loved telly as a kid it reminded my of the Double Deckers, the TV children’s show from the early 80’s, the yard and space is so Double Deckers ! Come aboard we’re the double deckers !!
Yippee we are go. Team Anxiety is go!!! When I phoned to tell my Mum I got Arts Council funding she said “How lovely who else has got it? Is it hard to get Debra? What is it again?” I said “Mum yes it is, its like trying to get a Michelin Star for a sandwich shop” (gourmet sandwiches of course!!!)
Anyway, it was weird trying to explain why I was so excited to be funded by the Arts Council to my mum, age 79, who is now a poster girl for the show itself. “Oh Debra not that photo,” I said “you look gorgeous in that picture the height of 70’s glam” anyway I’m rambling….
So since we got the news its all systems go, and you know when something feels so right and you feel in flow, well this is how it feels. Today I called someone to book a van to take us to the venues. He asked what the show was about and we talked for half hour about depression and how the time is now, it so the right time to be talking and how language traps us, how the modern world of communication brings us together but still leaves us lonely and disconnected. Anyway it got deep and I’m not so good at keeping up with deep, but what a great chat we had, and he’s a flyposterer, ticket seller (multi-talented) and a philosopher and a plasterer!!! And he said “I don’t want to change the world, I’m not an aid worker but I am going do a really good job plastering walls in Little Hulton.”
Start small, be local, do stuff to help people locally – and I love that and that’s my quote of the day, so thank you David.
So, here it is! This is me part of this brilliant documentary made by Dabster Productions for BBC Radio Scotland. I know it’s not all about me, but if you’re pushed for time and want to listen to my bit, I start at 4:40 and finish at 11:17.
It was quite hard to listen back actually – they recorded me listening back to the material I performed and I found it quite emotional (as you’ll hear!). But what it has made me realise is that it is still so important to keep talking about these difficult experiences and places that we find ourselves in.
What’s weird is, yesterday I saw an invitation for people to get involved in a national conversation to beat the stigma of mental health. The day is on 6th Feb and it’s called Time To Talk. So, I’m gonna have a think about where we could do something local. Any ideas, drop me a line!
Enjoy Feeling Kind Of Funny!