A busy start to 2021. This began with online rehearsals for “1000 Witches”, the title given to the ongoing (I hope) Creative Histories of Witchcraft project. Creative Histories of Witchcraft – France 1790-1940 (wordpress.com)
This had been suspended throughout the first year of Covid but thankfully revived just before Xmas. We did an online performance in February, working as best we could with props arranged around our laptops. Quite an experience. I had one ghastly moment, when there were some 60+ audience members awaiting the start of the play and I had somehow been cut off from the Webinar. It would have to be me.
All told an
absolute privilege working with Dr. Will Pooley of the University of Bristol
History Department, the playwright Poppy Corbett, the poet, Anna Kisby Compton,
the Director Ellie Chadwick and these formidable actors:
Esme Patey-Ford, Tobias Weatherburn, Alan Coveney, Matthew Bulgo and Nicola Burnett-Smith. Nicola also composed an amazing score and a song for the play.
Second up I was awarded professional support by Theatre West to develop “Age Queer” under their Zooming Ahead scheme for women writers. Zooming Ahead Writers.pdf (theatre-west.co.uk) This has just begun and I am currently developing a second draft under the auspices of dramaturg, Bea Roberts. Bea has also introduced me to a range of new writers I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading.
I also loved Bea’s own critically acclaimed play, “And then come the Nightjars”. And Then Come The Nightjars – Bea Roberts An account of an older, Devon, dairy farmer, Michael, the traditional affection and relationship he has with his herd and its horrific cull due to foot and mouth disease. That this event unfolds through Michael’s relationship with his vet and friend, Jeff makes the piece all the more affecting. I loved it because firstly, the experiences of ageing farmers or indeed country men and women are so rarely depicted. Secondly because my late father, as an agricultural auctioneer, would have instantly recognised Michael and empathised with him.
I have a Twitter account but regrettably do not tweet myself. It serves to keep me abreast of positive initiatives in anti-ageism activism around the world. Perhaps this UN report due out at the end of this month will shake things up in the U.K. The will is there but not the action.