I am blessed by being surrounded by extraordinary creative, skilled and supportive beings. This morning I type this as the Authentic Artist Asylum warms up above a pub in South London. I look on as visual artists, poets, vocal specialists, playwrights and other embodied artists warm up in order to share their individual new work and practice. A safely held space where new ideas and work can be explored. Last night I held a CGO Gathering where practitioners, producers, creatives, teachers (and some people who are all four) shared a drink, connecting conversation. They filled a board with messages highlighing an offer or a need. A performer needed a singing teacher. A singer was forming a choir. A producer needed a new play. A playwright was looking for a producer. Sharing our gifts.
As solo practitioners we are so often alone with our laptops. It is too easy to feel lonely and under-appreciated. It is all too easy for challenges to turn into nightmares. Remind yourself there is someone out there who knows the key to turning that challenge into a great opportunity. A running theme throughout my book “Your Life in Theatre” is to encourage you to make connections, ask for help, seek out wisdom, and share your gifts.
I was particularly drawn to this theme on Friday when I was having a session with Marcus Reeves exploring his growing body of work on his You Tube channel. Great interviews with cabaret artists and performers on his welcoming and well informed interview couch. He allows each person to come out from Behind the Mask and talk about themselves and their journey. He had given me a slot on the couch and last week my 15 minute interview was added to Marcus Reeves TV. Do explore the channel and even try out Chris Grady Behind the Mask
Marcus is creating this TV channel as part of a long-term development of his creative world. Each artist is delighted to gain a new interview for their website or growing fan base. Sharing creativity and opportunity.
And then as our session developed we had a chance to share our gifts – Marcus is a master of web development…and I have a website which needs attention. He generously shared some tips with me and now I will set aside time to have a re-think.
May I suggest that you think of the gifts that you could offer. They could make a valuable barter for a skill or support that you need. Give and receive generously. There may be no need for money to get through a challenge and turn it into an opportunity.
An actor colleague Chris Storer has started a group for actors and emerging directors and producers in London to meet for coffee “Look Who’s Talking” and I’m looking forward to being there. The clown artist Holli Dillon has started Col-Create, a gathering for creative artists working in Colchester. Again seeking to help solo artists and creative come together with no agenda and no expectation, just a chance to get away from the laptop and online communities and meet fellow citizens of the creative world. There’s SOUP – Some of Us Producers and Producer’s Pool. Both in London created for meeting with no agenda for solo creative producers. These are all wonderful antidotes to the online solitude which can affect us all.
And finally – the giant of all agenda-less gatherings for sharing and gift gathering – D&D, Devoted and Disgruntled, is now in my diary for 3 days in January (24th-26th). I will meet many friends, make new friends, explore new areas of artistic exploration, have some fab vegetarian catering, eat far too many biscuits, and leave refreshed and excited about creative possibility for 2015.
So – dear friends – walk away from the laptop, get out of your office or bedroom, find a place to meet, and share your gifts, challenges, creativity, skills, and needs.
Enjoy an autumn of fruitfulness…be mellow together.