Always Make Time To Check-In On You

We spend so much of our time as creatives, wondering about others. Wondering what the audience thought of our performance, what that director was thinking during our audition or what our peers are achieving (the list goes on and on!), that we often forget to simply think about ourselves.

I am not saying that we have to not consider those around us, as kindness is always needed in the Arts, but instead channel all that energy, on making time to check we are OK. What I mean by that, is we need to take time and effort to assess how we are coping, with the unpredictable, but exhilarating life we lead as artists. By essentially ‘checking in’ on ourselves, we are able to see if we need to take further time out, to de-stress and recharge our batteries.

Everyone is unique and of course have different ways of taking time to relax, chill, unwind and different names for it! I’ve given tips on ways to unwind in previous blog posts, but this is more of an encouragement to recognise when you do and act on it. We all know when we are tired and getting stressed, but a lot of us also try to ignore it, because we feel we don’t have time and have unending things to get done. Please don’t ignore it, take time for you as your mental and physical well-being is so vital. You are vital.

Be kind to you.💜

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When The Rom’s Stopped Coming…Or Just Evolved?

I can’t put a precise year or date to when the Romantic Comedy or more widely known ‘Rom Com’ genre, disintergrated to just a bygone era. It just, well, happened. The late nineties She’s All That heyday was over, Filmmakers and to some extent Theatre ones, were seemingly no longer investing their time and effort in to Romantic Comedy and nor were we, the audience.

For a hopeless romantic like myself, this ending could have been bitter and meant endless hours of contemplation, on the world in general, while eating an entire Chocolate Orange. But no, I decided to set about writing a romantic comedy play, with an idea that this extinction symbolised a revolution. A revolution of wit and sarcasm had to mix up the genre, make it laugh at itself. A rom-com’s had to become a parody because let’s face it, life and love is a parody.

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is admittedly not exactly uplifting, in terms of storyline, but it’s a favourite Novel of mine, because it is not a happy-ever-after story. The fact two characters Cathy and Heathcliff are entwined to the point of being one soul, but have every obstacle thrown at them, is just as relevant, if not more so, in the 21st Century. A rom-com can’t compete with this intensity, although it has plenty of humour, it doesn’t have that lingering effect in the mind.

We have to be willing to accept that a happy ending exists in many forms, that the happy is the most important bit, push the ending to one side and focus on what makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy to get that perfect ending. That’s largely where the once the escapism inducing rom-com went wrong, it have a perfect ending that was predictable and didn’t have the big gasp! moment. Even the biggest romantic needs a bit of a suprise to the tale, now and again.

In an act of pure reminissance, I shall watch 27 Dresses and Trainwrecked to remember all that’s good with the genre…Oh and She’s All That too. Ok I have a long list.

Wishing you all a lovely week 💜

Role Models: Aspire not Compare 

Everyone has someone that their teenage self wanted to become, when they grew up, usually someone who you saw as the pinnacle of their field..and usually someone ‘famous’. Yes, I was convinced I would one day be Audrey Hepburn the actress, the style icon, the legend, Barbra Streisand the legend, the voice…the list went on.

Once you get older, you unfortunately fall victim to a sense of pressure, to be that person when you reach a certain age. This dawned on me while having a conversation thread on ageism in the Arts industry, with mostly fellow female creatives on good old (no pun intended) twitter. We see successful artists such as Adele or Beyoncé for example and think Oh wow I have achieved nothing as you are all in the same age bracket. Please don’t think this, true is you have achieved so much, you don’t even realise it!

The truth is everyone is different and I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. We all achieve different things and at different times in our lives. Someone might have what you perceive to be the ‘perfect’ career aged 35, but they have still so much more they can do in another thirty-five years. Everyone has a different path and no two careers are identical so why compare?

If you are going to want to look up to someone as a role model, then it would make more sense, to make it someone who has had a long and steady career, perhaps 60 plus in age. A person who has worked consistently and is still working, that’s someone you want to aspire in the Arts-Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand, are in my opinion, the epitome of a long distuinguished career. 

Of course the two women I have given as examples are very well known in the industry but there are so many other females consistently working, that we know not much about, they aren’t in the media spotlight and have worked in it for many years. They are true role models, unsung heroes who work hard and are pillars in our artistic community. Let’s start celebrating them!

IARA Awards: Symbolising Equality And Diversity In The Arts

Now in its fourth year, the IARA Awards-International Achievement Recognition Awards, are the accolades that signify the real Arts industry. They recognise artists from a range of genres and actively promote equality and diversity. A British founded awards organization, that celebrates excellence on an international scale, the IARA Awards are unique, with categories ranging from Best Playwright to Best TV Presenter.

The IARA Awards website reads:

We strongly believe that by celebrating, rewarding, raising awareness and empowering people committed to bringing about change; together we can start a new chapter with equal opportunities for everyone.

This ethos is why I am so delighted to be covering the IARA Awards on 2nd September for Frantastic View, as innovation and creating your own path in the Arts industry is so important. Change is what’s needed to make our industry a fair one, with equal opportunities and to make us grow as artists. This is what the IARA Awards stand for-making an impact by rewarding hard work and talent.

Here are just some of last year’s winners…

Tanya Moodie- Best Actress 2016 ( RSC Hamlet )

Joshua Kane – Best Fashion Designer 2016

Atiha Sen Gupta – Best Playwright 2016

Charles Venn – Best Actor – TV or Drama 2016

(All photos courtesy of the IARA Awards media team)

With thirty-one award categories this year, well known performers such as Amber Riley and Scott Malsen, join emerging category nominees such as Ethan Le Phong and Seraphina Beh in the list of artists being recognised in their fields.

For a full list of the 2017 Nominees and the 2016 Winners visit http://www.iara-awards.com/

Frantastic View will be bringing you all the highlights of the IARA Awards 2017 (there will be many) from it’s nominees, winners and guest presenters. The awards ceremony take place 2nd September at Stratford Town Hall from 6pm, tickets available on the awards website (as above).

Evita And Her Inspiring Legacy 

I was invited to the media night last night of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Evita, at The Phoenix Theatre, London, where the show is performing a limited 12 week run until October. Something struck me that I felt compelled to write, not so much about this stunning production, but Eva Perón (also known as Evita), the woman and what she still symbolises today, 65 years after her death at the age of 33.

Rags-to-Riches stories are often now seen as a cliché, over baked and an excuse to gain fame and notoriety from a highly fabricated back story. It doesn’t stop young and old alike, from dreaming of that fairytale coming true for them and if you have a goal and work hard then why not? This is what the legend of Evita coming to Buenos Aires aged 15, to make her name, has based it’s foundations on, the idea that any young person can aspire to be whatever they want to become. Of course Argentina in the 1930’s, is a different setting to present day UK for example, but her message is still an empowering one.

Being a romantic in a modern world where romance is perhaps unfortunately on the decline, has me believing, with a little help from the show I saw last night, that Evita and her husband Juan Perón were in love. Let’s be honest, a man in Juan Perón’s position of power in that era, could have just wanted Evita, a famous actress, as his mistress, but as Emma Hatton sung so convincingly as Evita in a duet with Juan, she was certainly good for him. OK, they were mutually beneficial for each others lives, but this isn’t a bad thing at all, that’s a wonderful attribute in a relationship- to have someone who believes in you and what you can achieve.

Evita was a woman, I know you are probably shouting out loud Yes I know that, obviously! But, this needs to be celebrated that a lady, a ‘celebrity’ was a signal of hope for the people of Argentina, a signal of change, the people’s champion. We of course had Princess Diana thirty years later, who captured the hearts of the people around the world, with her kindness and warmth a strong female figure, but Evita Argentina’s first lady, was a phenomena never seen before. The song Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, from the musical Evita, captures the mood perfectly, on a balcony surrounded by her adoring public, as well as her biggest critics in equal measure, who had doubted her sincerity.

A pivotal figure, I believe Evita is also a feminist one, who still inspires many around the world, not to mention she has a musical about her life by one of the most successful musical theatre writing duo in history! Yes, she was very ambitious, but everyone has drive and that shouldn’t still be seen as a negative today like it was 70 years ago. The world has evolved, but the legend of Eva Perón, a visionary, remains as current as ever.