Well it’s been an amazing couple of days. Got to work on A Ploughed Heart by Vanessa Oakes for a second time. The day spent with Tessa Walker from the Birmingham rep was very illuminating and exceedingly helpful. Before I knew it, two days of work and rehearsal are over. The public performed reading done. We’re saying our good byes and as is an actors’ wont disappearing into the cold air of Nuneaton, not too sure whether will meet up again.
By the time I get home I feel totally exhausted and some what drained. I try to catch up with my paper work, tax (grrr) and wadding through two days worth of received emails weeding out the relevant ones from the trash. It still leaves me with over sixty emails that I need to reply to.
I then have to get myself ready for an Skype interview for RadioCrackle. Long time friend and former work colleague from the Market Research days John Stanford, now lives in the states has taken on another bow to his string an indie radio program, Serendipitous Compendium. That takes up a wonderful time full of laughter and before we know it an hour has gone. Well at least John has plenty of material to work with for the finished broadcast-able interview.
Now I have to get back to the business of trying to survive as a freelancer. My thoughts go back to the conversation I had with Mark Evans and Vanessa Oakes about the state of the UK Theatre and the lack of opportunities for women (writers, actors) you then add-on to that ageism and race, at the moment what hope is there for the likes of me? I’m over fifty, I’m East Asian, but the type of East Asian that means many in society think I’m not actually East Asian or that I’m not “authentic enough” and that cuts both ways from the dominant social, political and cultural group but also from some sections of the East Asian British community.
Where do writers and actors like me go? Those of us who are female, of colour and no longer in our 20s or 30s? I’m not catered for by the many Black or Asian (meaning South Asian sub-continent writers schemes). The only ethnically specific writers scheme I came across was being run by The Royal Court. I even got accepted onto the program in 2012, but was forced to pull out. Ironically I was cast in an Italian feature film, Something Good, ended up filming in Rome and Hong Kong. So how does one break through the white, public school and Oxbridge wall that seems ever-present, if you are not “young”, socially and culturally connected correctly?
I have my own voice. I think perhaps it sounds rather discordant. But it is still a British voice.
After all I was raised here, I came over here to the UK because Hong Kong was a crown colony. So why am I ignored and side barred?
Of course it is entirely possible that what I write is not good enough. Or that there is no audience for what I want to write about. Not wanting to sound big-headed, but I don’t think so.
I was an accepted entrant for the REDFest 2012. Recently, Conversations With My Unknown Mother was s picked up by Theatre Exchange for their scratch night extract performance in January of this year.
I’m a published writer The Dance Is New a modern anthology of poetry and Perpetual Child: An Adult Adoptee Anthology
So I think I can write. What I write whether fictitious or factual is readable and publish worthy.
So what is it? What is it that drives the literary gatekeepers to work with writer A and ignore writer B.
What is it that drives the new writing policy, many of which appear to me to be ageist.
New writing seems to equate to “young” those in their twenties to thirties. So those of us who have lived full lives and have the crows feet, lined hands and creaking bones to prove it, our voice is not worth hearing?
A Ploughed Heart should be a play that had been snapped up, it has history, it has the element of “time travel” there are even rumours of the ghostly and other worldly so why no takers? It certainly isn’t because Vanessa Oakes has not proved herself as a playwright. This piece should be being developed with a full-scale production in mind this play would be well received both nationally and internationally imho.
Moan over I now have to get back to my own work, writing, re-writes, more re-writes in the hope that it will be worth while in the end.
Only time will tell, I suppose.