Way back in 2013, I was just starting my career in stage management. It had been my life since 2008, when I undertook my first Assistant Stage Manager role on a production of ‘His Dark Materials.’ I immediately fell in love with the craft, and for the next two years, most evenings after school were spent at my local theatre, working on productions as part of the Young People’s Theatre. (At one point, my English teacher pulled me aside and told me I needed to stop wasting time at the theatre if I wanted to get a decent A-Level grade – I got a B, and the highest exam result of my class.) When it came to applying for university, there was no question as to what I wanted to do, and I was accepted onto the stage management course at the (now-Royal) Central School of Speech and Drama.
Shortly after starting my career however, my mental health problems reared their ugly head again. By the time graduation rolled around in December, I had moved home and was unemployed. There was little chance of getting a stage management job locally, but even if there was, I couldn’t see myself doing it. I’d fallen out of love with it and, more importantly, I wasn’t mentally in a position to cope with it.
Looking for a new job, I re-examined my core values and came to one conclusion; I wanted to be helping people. After a brief time driving a van for a local supermarket, I found my dream job as a Support Worker for Adults with Learning Disabilities.
After a year though, I started to feel restless in the job I loved. I was starting to reach my peak, with no opportunities to grow becoming evident. I took on a part time role with a youth organisation, working in the development team to set up new provision in deprived areas. Like with my full time position, I fell in love immediately. But it was only so long before I became restless again.
I guess you could say I was bored. Whilst my part time job was providing the opportunities I craved, a majority of my week was the same thing, day in, day out. Part of the reason I loved theatre was that no two days were the same. And I wasn’t ready to give up my past. I wanted theatre back in my life, one way or another.
So here we are. September 2016 – time for a change.
As of the 23rd September, I will once again be unemployed. I’m in the process of wrapping up loose ends at the moment.
I am moving back out of the family home, and returning to the frighteningly expensive capital city of London. Five bedroom house to a tiny bedsit.
And this should explain some things. I’m heading back to my alma mater as a postgraduate student, studying a Master’s in Applied Theatre. Applied theatre is “the use of drama in an educational, community or therapeutic context” (Wikipedia) – in other words, the perfect combination of my two passions.
It’s a lot of change in a short amount of time, and I’m constantly shifting between excited and “Oh my god, what have I done?”. But I’m mostly looking forward to the challenge and the change of scenery. And I’ll be sure to share my insights along the way!