When You Least Expect It…

When you least expect it, life can present something spectacular in your path. Sometimes it doesn’t. But, sometimes, it does. Life is by no means a fairytale, although, it can give you a sprinkle of unexpected magic. The surprise is what makes it so satisfying.

We spend so much time wanting, wishing and expecting that something to happen, we start to convince ourselves it won’t, rather than just letting it, well, happen. When we don’t spend all our time focusing on one thing we would to improve upon in our personal or professional lives, then we can actually relax.

Relaxing is both beneficial for our mind and body, destressing means that when life does throw us that gem, we can enjoy it. OK, enjoying is such a broad word, perhaps savour would be a better way to describe it. We need to focus on the joy we have, celebrate and realise we deserve that happiness.

Making goals is such a productive way to focus on what we want to acheive, but, by no means shall we believe we can truly plan. Nothing ever truly goes to plan. To be honest, a lot of the best things, are ones we never imagined could happen.

Not every day will be “perfect”-so celebrate the unexpected, have a beautiful week and be kind. ❤️

Advertisements

The End Of Another Year…Reflect And Be Kind To You

With just over two weeks until New Year, at the time of writing this article (yes I know there is Christmas to come yet), I wanted to write about the transition in to 2018.

Why?

I know that entering another year, can be a time, where we, especially as artists, can analyse what we have achieved. In fact, as human beings we do that- everything should have fallen in to place, but it has not. Christmas is a time that can remind us of things we are missing in our lives and the New Year approaching, seems to magnify this.

To boost our own morale, let’s write down one thing every day until the 31st December, that we are proud to have achieved in our lives this year. Remember nothing is too big or small, this is something personal to you and is intended to be a list, that on the last day of 2017, you can look at and smile.

It may be performing that song, you’ve always wanted to sing to an audience, for the first time, or cooking that intricate recipe, you’ve always held back on making. You will surprise yourself with this list of just what you’ve made happen in 2017 and the impact you’ve had in your own life, as well as that of others!

Happy writing and as always, be kind ❤️

Keeping Your Body And Soul Warm This Winter

Late Autumn and now with Winter approaching, can be a busy time work-wise as a creative, what with concerts and panto to name just a few! As well as working, we need to make time for ourselves and to enjoy this time of year, as well as a festive break- if you can’t at Christmas when can you? This means looking after yourself so you can do both, as being under the weather, is just a given for this time of year, so take extra care of yourself. Here are some tips to enjoy this Winter and to be kind to your mind and body.

Hot Drinks

Who doesn’t like a nice warm hot chocolate or a trusty cup of tea? Keeping yourself warm and hydrated is important, so why not have a herbal tea or a hot water and lemon alternating with your favourite latte or frothy hot chocolate. Herbal tea is packed with antioxidants and will leave your throat less dry than normal tea, not to mention many are caffeine free, which is a bonus.

Wear a Scarf

There is no real point wearing a cosy coat, hat and gloves if your neck is all bare. Be snug and warm, look after your throat as it needs a lot of TLC. If you are a singer/actor you are constantly using your vocal chords…so give it some attention!

Sleep

I know it’s midnight, your phone is flashing and you want to check social media to see how many retweets your most recent tweet received or to look at cute baby otters (maybe that’s just me), but you will thank yourself in the long run for focusing on sleeping, as it is so vital to keep you alert, healthy and feeling your best.

Relaxation

Nothing beats a good book, a bubble bath or just a walk to appreciate nature, remember, the best things in life are always free. Whatever you do to clear your mind and unwind, then do it, relax.

Have a beautiful day and as always, be kind ❤️

Self-Confidence…What’s It All About?

I’m not going to quote you a dictionary definition of the word confidence, as we all have our own definition and everyone’s is individual to them. Self-confidence often gets a negative reaction, it’s as if having belief in yourself, is a bad thing. I would say it’s definitely not. Having self-confidence in moderation, is the key, the right balance makes you not seem, perhaps, arrogant.

What I want to explore in this article, is the concept of a facade, that in the Arts we often seem to have, of being happy-go-lucky and loving life. I often get told I am a confident person, but I would definitely say I seem it, as I wouldn’t say I’m a consistently confident one. I do have a relatively high level of confidence, but a lot of the time I am like everyone else and just blagging it! I go to an audition or a meeting and I’m the most confident version of myself, pure and simple, but I’m still myself.

This leads to my next point and something I emphasise a lot in Frantastic View, be yourself. Always. Being yourself and confident go hand-in-hand believe it or not. You can be both confident and maintain your personality and individuality, as I want to get across is confidence is not an ugly trait.

Here are some pointers for feeling that extra confidence, when perhaps you are feeling at a low ebb:

Remember there is only one you in this world, so don’t compare yourself to others, be the best version of you.

Never let anyone dent belief in what you can achieve, we do that to ourselves enough, without letting anyone else destroy our self esteem.

Talk about it, if you are feeling your confidence is at a real low point, then please share this with someone you trust.

Hope you have a beautiful week 💜

Frantastic View Has Been Nominated For A Blogger Recognition Award

I am very overwhelmed, as well as extremely humbled, that my blog Frantastic View, has been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by https://breakaleg.biz/ and would just like to say a huge thanks for this nomination.

I started Frantastic View in 2015, originally as a theatre reviewing blog, but I soon realised as much as I enjoyed reviewing, I was being asked to guest review on other theatre blogs, so I wanted to make Frantastic View something more personalised. It was apparent, there weren’t too many blogs that were writing about life in the Arts and trying to inspire other creatives, so I wanted to show other artists that they weren’t alone and had support. I’ve written a range of topics on self validation to pre-show snacking! This year I also introduced a guest blog series from a range of artists from Lucy Basaba to SallyAnn Fellowes, with wonderful articles aimed to inspire.

Advice I would give to new bloggers is find your niche and stay true to yourself! If you want to write about something, then do it! If your blog article is about your evening of eating pizza and watching Strictly, then do it, that’s your truth and to be honest a lot of readers will probably relate!

Bloggers I would like to nominate:

https://theblogoftheatrethings.com/ This theatre blog is so supportive in its reviews and conducts such wonderful interviews with theatre makers.

https://breakaleg.biz/ Such a supportive blog, with artists from a range of different genres featuring on it from stage to TV, making it very unique and exciting.

http://www.theatrefullstop.com/ Theatrefullstop are such a theatrical powerhouse whilst maintaining a platform to new writing and emerging artists.

https://www.carnstheatrepassion.com/?red=1&WordApp_launch=1 This blog is also a champion of new theatre writing and are always maintaining a positivity.

https://thisstuffisgolden.com/ This Stuff Is Golden is a mental health blog, that has articles on a range of inspiring topics we can all relate.

Never Lose A Sense Of Excitement

Whether it’s the butterflies you feel on a first date, or the sense of adrenalin before that audition, this is what makes life that bit, well, exciting. It is so easy to dwell on negatives, that we forget to let ourselves experience, which is a result of sensations and feelings, which make them unforgettable.

If you are feeling like that spark of electricity in your life needs to be reignited, sometimes it’s actually our own selves preventing it. Constant comparisons and criticisms we make of every part of our own being is exhausting! We drain ourselves and others, because if we don’t want to hear our own negativity, chances are others closest to us, will not either.

Letting go of negative energy in our lives, is a daunting prospect, as the sources of it may not have always been that way, but once a crack in the foundation appears, it will just keep getting bigger. Whatever it is causing you not to let yourself experience happiness, is not worth holding on to, simply distance yourself from it.

Never be led to believe anything is too trivial or not worthy of your joy. Find the source of that joy and let it show you, just what it is that makes you smile. Smiling is your way of expressing a sense of excitement, if you want to be estatic about hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top, then go for it!

Hope this article has brought some kind of excitement…or at least a smile, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day 💜

Guest Blog-From Actress Sallyann Fellowes

I have something to confess- I have never written a blog before.
I know what a blog is so I resorted to Google. It says
“a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
Ok thanks- that tells me Nothing.
I guess that makes me a blog virgin as I am at the moment a comedy virgin- so the two virgins types can sit together and eat chips. There’s probably a joke there but I have comedy constipation at this precise moment.

I am an ex nurse ex police officer who turned to acting after I got injured on duty in the police and I retired because of my health, or lack of it. In June this year I did a stand-up comedy course at the London School of Comedy in Camden. They’re a lovely bunch and they do brilliant things in the community to tackle knife crime and help mentor young people whose start has not been the best. What’s not to like? Plus I had already booked and paid for a slot at the Edinburgh Festival to do a show that I hadn’t actually written yet.

I’d never done any sort of stand-up comedy and I had never been to Edinburgh.
What could possibly go wrong?
Here comes another confession (fellow lapsed Catholics will see a familiar pattern here). Whenever I had seen a stand up show the sight of the empty stage with a microphone was like a very strong magnet and I have to sit on my hands.
I always wanted to run up and say something (I never actually did it) – I realise this is weird and probably has a long name and involves visits to a psychiatrist.

So the course was really helpful and I wrote the show, did a preview of it, plus a couple of open mics then went to Edinburgh.
When I told my Dad he said no-one will come, then after a minute the word “unfortunately” so a nice bit of compassion there to lighten the kiss of doom, thanks Dad.
My Mum said I’m just worried you’ll die either on stage or actually just die.
Great thanks Mum.

I can confirm I didnt do either. The audience did laugh and hopefully not out of pity. A few people came up afterwards to tell me they loved the show. I’ve done a few spots in other people’s shows since and the Out of the Blue show is at Tribeca Basement in Manchester, for the Women in Comedy Festival on October 24th at 7pm. You have been warned. Oh and theres a bar and theres lots of other funny women doing their stuff too.

Theres been some fab gigs and of course not so fab- including one where there was no light! I am not even joking it was like being in a dungeon. A woman tried to sell me a bottle of knocked off champagne in the toilets when I said No thanks I was alright, she said I can get you any pills you want! I thought one guy was heckling me, so I went nearer to hear what he was saying and he was on his phone! Another instance, a bloke heckled me through a window while he was smoking a cigarette comedy gold! The audience were all rolling drunk and another woman tried to take the MCs mic- shouting that she wanted to make a stand against political correctness.

After that I tried to find that woman with the pills but she’d gone (I’m joking).
Thanks for reading guys if you’re in Manchester on 24th October I would love to see you at my show.

@sallyannfellowes

Feel Beautiful Inside And Out

We all have those days, where we wake up and don’t feel our best. If you are feeling like your mo is missing your jo, perhaps you’ve not landed that role you set your heart upon, or you just feel in need of some YOU time, then here are some tips, to help you feel beautiful inside and out:

1. Have a pampering evening

This means clear your diary if possible, put your phone on silent and relax! Surround yourself by your favourite bath and body products ie. face mask and body lotions…indulge! Talking of indulging, have your favourite snacks on stand by and read that new book or watch a DVD. Enjoy!

2. Write a list of goals

What do you want to do in your life that will make you happy? Not just in your career but life in general. Being happy is so important and making goals to achieve this, can be so helpful for you to find focus. If you want to write a new play then do it! Life is for living and the possibilities are endless.

3. Smile

Sometimes you really might not feel like it, but trust me, a smile has the power to lift your mood. It is a small act that makes the biggest of changes to your life, as well as others. A friendly smile can also make the day of those around you, so what you waiting for? Start smiling.

Hope this has inspired you and as always have a beautiful week 💕


IARA Award Winners 2017

The 4th annual IARA Awards took place on the 2nd September, at Stratford Old Town Hall, in London. Celebrating equality and diversity in the Arts industry, on an international scale, the IARA Awards are certainly integral accolades. 

This year the big winner everyone is taking about, is Terry Pheto who won two awards, including Best Actress 2017! Rent the Musical also won two awards, including Best Theatre Director for Bruce Guthrie. 

Here is a list of the winners below:

Best Actor 

ANTHONY BOYLE (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

 Best Actress

TERRY PHETO (A United Kingdom)

Best Emerging Actor

OLISA ODELE (E4-ChewingGum)

 Best Emerging Actress

SERAPHINA BEH (BBC EastEnders)

 Best Actor in TV/Drama 2017

JAMES FLOYD (ITV Good Karma Hospital)

 Best Actress in TV/Drama 2017

 TERRY PHETO (BET Nelson Mandela)

 Best Young Actor in Film/TV/ Drama

DANNY WALTERS (BBC EastEnders)

Best Young Actress in Film/TV/Drama

KIRAN SONIA SAWAR (Murdered By My Father)

 Best International Actor

OC UKEJE (The Arbitration)

Best International Actress

Nse Ikpe Etim (Tess)

 Best Male Stage Performance

Adam J Bernard (Dream Girls)

Best Female Stage Performance

LUCY ST. LOUIS (Motown)

Best Dance Act

LUKE AHMET (The Creation)
Best Theatre Director

BRUCE GUTHRIE (Rent the Musical)

Best Choreographer

LEE PROUD (Rent the Musical)

Best Playwright

JOHN O’Donovan (If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You)

Best Original Screenplay

MY FERAL HEART – DUNCAN PAVELING

Best Short Film Director

CHARLOTTE REGAN Standby

 Best Director – TV or Drama

DOUGLAS MACKINNON (SHERLOCK)

Best Feature or Independent Film 2017

MY FERAL HEART- Director / JANE GULL

Best Fashion Designer

Joshua Kane

Best New Music Act

GEOVARN

Best Music Album

EVERGREEN –SHAUN ESCOFFERY)

Best UK Music Artist 2017

REGGIE ‘N’BOLLIE

Best UK Afroabeat Artist

IKE CHUCKS

Best African Music Artist

ADEKUNLE GOLD
  

Best FM/Radio Station

THE BEAT LONDON 103.6FM

 Best UK FM/Radio DJ

DJ ACE (BBC 1xtra)

Best TV Presenter

SCARLETTE DOUGLAS (Channel4 A Place in the Sun)

Best UK Reality TV Star 2017

SANDRA MARTIN (Channel4 Gogglebox)

Best Web Series 2017

Hood Documentary by Tyrell Williams & Kayode Ewumi 



Guest Blog-From Actress And Playwright Felicity Huxley-Miners

Being the Change You Want To See

Victoria Sadler’s stark article on the lack of female playwrights makes for troubling reading: http://www.victoriasadler.com/2017-in-review-the-lot-for-female-playwrights-worsens/

The bigger theatres aren’t programming female playwrights. Promises are being made and not kept and people want to see more diversity across the board on stage and in the wings of all our theatres.

I’m not allowed into the important rooms where important decisions are made in these venues. Yet. But what I do get to see is female playwrights creating, being pro-active, hustling producers, pedalling their work and writing even if no-one’s going to listen.

I’ve seen an uprising of small theatre companies calling out for female playwrights, female directors, stories from BAME artists, gender-blind and any-ethnicity casting. This online community is coming together, supporting and encouraging one another, sharing, recommending and generally being so positive. It’s a world away from the trolling and bullying reported on every day in the press and the competitiveness that can sometimes consume the most competitive industries.

The arts, and freelancing in general, can be such an isolating experience, especially when work is thin on the ground and everyone else is absolutely definitely doing so much better than you, that an online support network can be such a fabulously important resource.

So much of our lives are now conducted online; for most freelancers it’s an essential way of self-promotion, maintaining working relationships and networking that we can’t do without it. In this anonymous cyber-space environment filled with keyboard warriors and the eternally offended it’s incredibly reassuring to see the support and generosity of a movement of people (yes, men too) working towards a united goal.

And what a ridiculous goal. To have roughly as many female playwrights as male. Roughly as many women on stage as men. Roughly as many BAMER artists both on the creative team and cast.

Many of the big theatres (I’ll leave you to define ‘big’) are pledging to start evening out this balance in 2, 5, 10 years. Why? What’s wrong with now? It seems that the fringe, the small companies, the ones who didn’t get funding, the regional venues, the do-ers, the self-published and self-produced, the crowd-funders, the one (wo)man shows, the risk-takers, the unconventional, the don’t-fit-in-your-boxers, the forgotten and the unheard are boldly leading the way into new territories, producing innovative, exciting art and reaching those who need representation on stage. Those who need a voice. Then hopefully the audiences and the massive, resource heavy, funded theatres will then follow.

But in the meantime go online, look at those doing it for themselves, look at the words of encouragement, the empowerment, the brilliant ideas and collaborations and be encouraged, if not by the theatre, then by the resilience, determination and the spirit of those who are going to make it happen.

@FelicityHuxleyM