Friday, 23 November 2012

Looking for those solo achievers...

While looking at loneliness and time spent alone I have also found myself thinking about the value of time spent alone.

Being alone can be a necessity or just the result of circumstances but those things that you achieve by yourself, aren't they the best won prizes? The most satisfying? For me this project is a kind of trial, a test, to see if I CAN make a show almost entirely on my own. As I have mentioned I have never done it before and I've found myself thinking about what I call 'The Power of One'.

Throughout history there are individuals who have made significant solo achievements, started movements and broken records, often just to see if they could. One person can make a difference. One person can achieve a lot, if they put their mind to it.

Think about Dame Ellen MacArthur, 'the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly'. She steered a huge boat over 26,000 miles, by herself, in just 71 days and broke a world record. It sounds impressive doesn't it? 

But I think about this... she had no-one else to rely on when things got hard. When she got injured, burning her arm and cracking her forehead open she had to carry on because there was no-one else.  She was against the clock AND at the mercy of the elements meaning she couldn't afford to sleep much but she also had to keep functioning at an incredibly high level on this lack of sleep. I wonder how many times she cried, how lonely she must have felt, how exhausted and terrified she must have been. I wonder how often she considered she might die out there, all alone.

I wonder how much she thought about that before she went. Was she prepared to die for her ambition? Or is that something you cannot consider if you are going to do these things?

And so what I am now looking for is more of these remarkable people. Individuals, dead or alive and not just sporting, who have made great solo achievements. And I need your help. If you can think of any, you can tweet me @Yorkshirebint and use the hashtag #solo or email me


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

If you cut us, do we not bleed?

So Newcastle Council have announced a proposal to cut 100% of their arts funding...

This news sends chills down my spine. That a city that has had culture at the heart of it's massively successful regeneration is about to have it's legs cut out from under it. A city I am very fond of. That had things turned out differently for me personally I was all prepared to move to two years ago. A city that is home to some brilliant venues and even more brilliant people who work and make work there.

This news sends chills down my spine because now I fear, more than ever, for the rest of the regions. I fear that if this government continues to behave so idiotically, clamping down on public spending and strangling the regions that eventually we will all have to go to London to see theatre, to enjoy art because for some reason they feel we don't need it up here in the grim old North.

And what really sends chills up my spine is the fear of a migritation that follows this. That all our talented, brightest and best will be forced to seek the capital in order to fulfill their aspirations because why should they stay? What will we, the poor lowly regions have to offer them?

I love the arts. I need them. All the arts. I don't just mean the stuffy old, historical and 'high art'. I like my art dirty and raucous, fast and loose, hands-on and accessible to all, ethereal and experimental, developing and emerging, studio based and site-specific, intimate and epic, magical and political. I like variety and lots of it. I want everyone in every region to have the chance to see it, hear it, taste it, touch and be touched by it and so I feel deeply for those in Newcastle who give their heart and souls to make great art for the people in their region. I know they will fight this and fight hard. I just want them to know I will be standing right behind them. And I won't be the only one. I hope this is the beginning and not the end.