I was in Hull for the heads up festival last week. I loved it. The way they say hello is like "L-O". My two shows were at St Paul Boxing Gym and Winefred Holtby Academy. St Pauls is a beautiful gym. Big painting of the clubs crest on the wall, an area at the back where you can buy a tea if you're a parent picking up your pugilist in training and are early enough to see them spar, framed, blown-up pictures of boys in boxing stances through the ages-from crops, to mullets, moustaches and back to crops again (No fringes). The club has also birthed Olympic gold winner Luke Campbell. Needless to say for this to be my first location to tour I was pretty nervous.
I was lucky enough to meet Mickey, the owner of the gym before going on. It meant a lot to shake his hand and thank him for letting me do my show in his gym. There was something very strange about warming up, in my Times Amateur Boxing Club attire in the dressing room of another gym before going on. It was Eerie and uncomfortable. I was hit by a wave of doubt- as if I was pretending to box. I started texting Yael Shavit, Helen Heaslip, my little sister, mum, dad, partner- all of them encouraging me. Made me feel really lucky
The room held a lot of theatre makers, people from the community, and boxers. Ex boxers and current. I couldn't ask for a better mix of people. It wasn't my smoothest show at all. I'm nursing a terrible cough at the moment and at one point had to chug a glass of water while the bell was ringing! What it lacked in timing and delivery it made up for in- I don't know- feeling. The moments that felt important held more weight than they've ever done, almost to the point of hurting me to say them. If the show didn't go well here, I don't know if I could have had the confidence to perform at another gym so I'm honestly really grateful that the audience at St Pauls were so accommodating and lovely and open to my show! Thank you St Pauls and Mickey!
The show at Winefred was great- it was to year eights and nines. Not sure if the age group is a little too young- and I think a lot of them were worried about laughing in case they'd get told off, but it was great to hear the odd giggle every time i said "fuck" on stage. Can't believe I get to have a job where I can say fuck at a school and not get in trouble for it. How amazing!!
The workshop I ran with the teenagers was great too. We played games, did a little Q&A (And no one asked how I remembered it which makes me love them even more) I fell in love with the way they say so many of their words- and how honest they were in talking about the most important five minutes of their lives.
Thank you so much to Daniel Kitson for recommending the show in his mailing list. I've been getting messages from people all day about it!
Final thank you to Stephan Skills from Winefred for giving me his stories to read. I haven't properly tucked into them yet but the fact you've trusted me with them means the world to me. You're a world maker mate!
What else. I stayed in an Ibis which Ethan- the ex-skater tour techie who refers to it as "abyss" and had a lovely time watching Everybody Loves Raymond on the hotel telly in the morning. Saw Deadpool. Really good. Very romantic. Made me miss my girlfriend. I always miss my girlfriend.
Cool. This is really long. I'll do shorter ones in the future.
I'll leave you with the Beetle and Bird website. Milly Prett, someone who worked and helped so much on the beginning show and helped shape it a lot. She can see things a lot of people can't when it comes to writing. I saw them do their show Moonfruit in Brighton- it was incredibly beautiful and I've been hooked on their website for a while, especially watching the Keithettes video. So good!
Okay. Great. Safe one!