During a free writing exercise, I was asked to write about my first artistic expression. And that got me thinking. How did I get into drama and theatre in the first place?
I got into drama and theatre in a not normal way. Although now that I say that, what is the normal way? The happiness that comes from being someone you’re not? The ease of pretending to be someone else? The attention of being on stage? For me, I could remember lines. I could be trusted. Big parts were given to me as I could remember all the lines.
It wasn’t until I got older that I realised I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being on stage and I didn’t think I was that good. I couldn’t dance all that well and I certainly couldn’t sing. But I’d been doing it for so long, from such as young age. Being the leads in plays, Saturday morning drama schools and amateur productions were such a big part of my life. When I had my moment of realisation, when I doubted myself and lost all my confidence, I also became lost. I didn’t know where to turn.
It was Year 11 and at my school as a rule Year 11s couldn’t be the leads in the school musical what with GCSEs and all that. But I was asked to help. I made costumes, helped the drama teacher slash director. I was assistant director and stage manager and everything in between. Maybe all was not lost. Maybe it was just being on the stage I didn’t like. I had a flare for organising and creating. No one was asking to cry on cue. No one would hear me sing either.
I carried on academically in drama. I liked the essays. I found maths and science too easy as there was only one correct answer. The humanities such as English and Drama were more challenging to me. Equal parts infuriating and challenging, but in a good way. So my A Level subjects were: Theatre Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Media Studies and Maths. I also had to do General Studies but no one counts that. Decent marks but it was the rationalising and the arguing that came with the subjects that I enjoyed. The plan was then Drama degree, teaching degree, teacher. Then I started writing.