Stay Up Late Collective / Paper Cage Theatre
THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Actor, Writer and Theatre Producer
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
That certainly changes from day-to-day depending on which project is active and which ‘hat’ I have to wear. Actor hat, writer hat, producer hat. I do have a loose routine that can be improvised around priority tasks. I try to free-write for ten-twenty minutes in bed first thing when I wake up, just to get everything going on in my head out and on paper. I’ll then get up and make a cuppa, then reply to emails and write myself a to-do list before heading out - whether to a rehearsal, or a meeting, or to my side job at the Yard Theatre. Usually, I’ll have dedicated writing days in a week, or dedicated production days where I work my way through what needs to be done.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I played a lot of Tomb Raider when I was 6 years old - with a dinosaur obsession. So for a while I wanted to be an archeologist and dig up ancient artefacts and fossils. I also got my first taste of theatre around that time though doing performed poetry competitions and the choir. When I was 9 my school did a Christmas show - not your average nativity but a cool and contemporary play about Christmas time consumerism. I played a money-obsessed East London shop owner called ‘Gov’ - and sang a song ‘Money’ - cockney accent galore. I loved how empowering it felt to jump into another person, create their world inside my head and be a part of telling a story to an audience.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
BA(Hons) Acting & Contemporary Theatre, 4 A-levels, and 14 GCSE’s - the GCSE’s I barely scraped passes in… but I got em’ right?
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. A kind of weird marathon with lots of different twisting side routes where some participants may have had a head start, or stumbled upon a shortcut - but at the end of the day you’re all part of the greater, spectacular event.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
I have so many role models! Top two: Florence Farr & Kate Bush. Florence Farr who lived 1860-1917 was an actor, director, playwright, producer, composer, women’s rights activist, scholar and Egyptologist. Though history doesn’t remember her as well as it should, her work was a catalyst for many of the social and political changes of the era. Kate Bush: well, she is unapologetically true to herself and her work - she changed the music industry.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
Being able to work from home, and travelling to so many different places.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
I’d have Hermione Granger’s time-turner so I can be in multiple places at once!
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Five years… performing in a show, while writing a show, with a show on tour, with a show in pre-production.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Yes and no. I can be really silly. I bring a lot of that silliness to my work, but it’s important to me to have a professional attitude and adapt to different working environments depending on what the team as a whole needs.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
Well, in the theatre companies I founded - I’m a producer and director. Which puts me in the top positions of leadership, but I am still a collaborator. The industry is only now beginning to make space for women in positions of power - I’m always eager to work with and support female artists.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
100%. It is more urgent now more than ever to be more inclusive and give space to voices in the industry which have been previously marginalised, controlled or restricted.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
It’s difficult. But it’s getting easier. Somehow over the last few years I’ve wired myself to be a workaholic, which is something I’ve been working on changing. It’s a wonderful feeling being driven and ambitious about what you want to achieve. But it’s unhealthy to feel guilty about NOT working. I’m re-training myself to have - and really enjoy - chill time.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Compassion. Patience. Courage. Determination. Perseverance. Optimism.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
Take the risk and get the hell out of your comfort zone!