Throughout my whole life as a northern performer especially as a child, London has been a place of myth and legend for me, the Unicorn of the UK. I have a bit of Puss In Boots-itus when it comes to our capital, but I definitely don’t think that this is my fault and honestly the older I get the more unfair it seems. In this age of media influence (I realise the irony of me stating this through media) we are increasingly taught that London is the place to be, you’ve made it if you live or work there, you’re a big player, someone to take notice of, a success. I even had it from an ex-boyfriend of mine after stumbling across him in a pub (not literally) a year or so after we split “Oh hi, so what are you doing now? I thought you would be living in London by now?”. It’s everywhere! People get taught it at universities, particularly in the dance and performance industries after all most castings are held in London even for companies that aren’t even based there.
So my question is WHY? Why do we have to have such a segregated community that is so influential and greedy? Yes it might sound a bit harsh to call it greedy, but for me it feels that way. At the moment as a Northern artist 100 miles north of Leeds, I feel like we are really getting the crappy end of the stick and I for one am sick of it. As a country the arts have been hit hard when it comes to public money, funding and general support and recognition, it is a struggle for anyone to get their hands on any kind of funding or commercial success and with the extra kick in the teeth by Brexit and Global Pandemic the industry is setting up to recover from even harder times. So isn’t it only fair that as artists and arts industry professionals we make sure we are spreading what we do have across the country as much as we can? Is’nt it only fair that we make these changes as we come into a new era post pandemic after watching shows from all over the UK online, participating in classes and workshops that we now, more than ever ,should be make casting and just our communities in general less london-centric, particularly in the film and TV sector.
Now I know at this point some of you maybe feel like I’m not appreciating what we do have, such as some of the fantastic theatres and organisations we have in let’s call it the ‘North-North’, which really isn’t the point of this blog, I really believe we have some amazingly talented and hardworking arts venues and arts professionals . However there is so much more we can do to put a stop to this over idealisation of our capital and I feel like we all need to be aware of doing this and try to stop it or at least tone it down. Why can’t a northern city not be just as amazing to live and work in as London as a performer, producer etc? Why can’t the big companies come to us? It’s all about how we see and value ourselves or our region and often as hard as it is to admit we feel or have been made to feel by others because we have a regional accent and/or because we are based 300 miles from London that we a are not as important as good or as valid as artists, companies or organisations.
Now I will admit that this blog has been triggered by a few things happening in my own life, so maybe I am completely on my own with this and just ranting to make myself feel better, or maybe this is something you all feel at times? I can tell you this is not a negative thing for me, if anything it has made me more determined to put the effort into working together with other companies and organisations to bring opportunities in the “North North”. But I would love to hear your thoughts and start a bit of a conversation
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At the beginning of this month like most people I was contemplating the year ahead and what I wanted to achieve. I’ve set some very vague goals and targets for myself and for my career. Most of them involve self growth through building on my practices and growing stronger as a performer.
As well building performance skills a huge part of my growth into making a living from what I do, is generating some physical evidence of my choreography skills. I have always been passionate about creation of movement and it really always has been something I really enjoyed and been told I am quite good at. Although I love being on stage I have had a few jobs recently where I have had fun directing and choreographing too.
Over Christmas I was cast in a play called Dark Christmas by emerging play-write Julian Kilburn. I not only got the chance to perform but actually fell into the role of doing a little bit of light hearted choreography for one of the final scenes.
Here is a little snippet from the night.
It was wonderful to work with actors and give them some movement built from the characters they have created and their stories. Everyone worked so hard learning the movement and giving it their own stamp, particularly as we ended up with such a small amount of time to work on things.
I am now looking to connect with more Theatre makers and directors to work with in incorporating movement into their art as a choreographer. It would be wonderful to hear from anyone interested in working with me. Drop a comment below if you are interested or pop over to my Contact Hildy page.
So another year has begun and boy what a year we leave behind! A year that a lot of people are glad to see the back of where politics and international and national happenings are concerned. Not a great year for a lot of reasons.
However as you may have noticed I am ever the optimist and for me 2017 has had it’s ups and downs but I can’t help leaving it feeling proud, positive and hopeful for the year ahead. 2017 was my first year as a fully self-employed artist and I feel proud that I made it this far and have actually lived to tell the tale.
I’ve done so many fun jobs around the country and each one has taught me something new, built up my confidence and given me the inspiration to plough on through.
As I haven’t blogged for a while so I have lots to share with you all. I will begin with this little experiment. I used my mobile phone to make a very short film about a day in the life of a dancer, it’s a bit of a slice from my inner thoughts and feelings too as I don’t really have a single day that is the same.
At the end of September I took on a bit of a new challenge and added a new era to my repertoire. I was commissioned by ARC Stockton to create a 10 minute Music Hall Act. Being a Huge fan of Marie Lloyd (one of the most famous Music hall singers in Britain) I just had to pay my tribute to her.
The performance was very different to what I’m used to, I chose to perform completely authentically without voice amplification which was scary at first but very freeing physically allowing me to venture into my audience, which I loved! So I thought I would share the video with you all because I am seriously thinking about adding this era as one of my regular acts. Enjoy!
So as per my last post ‘Girl meets cake’ I have very much sunk myself into this project and only gone and got myself a job getting naked in a short film! The film takes a look into body positivity and is called ‘Made of Glass’, brought about by a lovely group of people who go under the name of ‘Abnormal Exit’ its part of a triology of short films looking at some issues faced by women.
So my body was picked from thousands of candidates or maybe that’s just what my lovely director Abbey Scargill told me.😉
My first day on location was yesterday and we had an amazing day frolicking in the forest (fully clothed) I met the whole crew and had some giggles trying to win everyone over before I showed them my worst enemy (my naked form)! I felt really good yesterday focussing on my performance and the technicalities of filming, however as the day went on I was increasingly aware these people I barely know and am not planning on sleeping with will be seeing me in all my glory the next day and focusing on that for the majority of an evening/afternoon which made me increasingly nervous and anxious. I felt and still can’t help but think that I will be dissapointing, or too entertaining (as in laughed at rather than laughed with), there is also an element of potential disgust going round in my brain, I am basically thinking of every bad reaction scenario that the people who see me may have, this is also bizarrely quite comforting as it is me kind of preparing for the worst.
This morning I have made a little video after making every inch of my being ready for the trauma it was about to go through.
So here it is………..
I am currently in waiting to be called to set so until my next post I will simply say………..to be continued……….
I have always been a lover of cake and all things sweet, it makes me feel better when I’m sad it makes a great day even better! I have, all my life rewarded myself with a sweet treat when I have been extra amazing and drowned my sorrows in a double chocolate chip muffin when I have had the worst day. It’s safe to say my relationship with food is one of an unhealthy love bordering on obsession with a definite emotional attachment and the relationship with my body in return is that of a love and hate tug of war at times, with some breaks of cease fire and calmness, oh but then a remark is made a dress doesn’t fit a bad picture is posted to Facebook and the whole rigmarole startsagain. Being a professional dancer this has never worked in my favour, the fight to do what I wanted to do for a living has always been very real.
I have been told I am too fat to be a performer in so many ways by so many people it’s unbelievable. Luckily I am the most optimistic fat dancer you could meet and that is what has seen me through to this point and hopefully beyond. I have been denied many opportunities because of my weight and even more so because of my self consciousness that my body is not worthy of those opportunities.
Since I decided to make a leap of faith with my career leaving my safety job in a shop and going full time as a performer and creative, coupled with my ongoing ageing which I am still getting used to, I have decided to use this huge part of my life as an opportunity for discovery and hopefully some art. I want to study the relationships people have with their bodies particularly women.
I want to know why I am like this, when did it start? why did it start? why can’t I dance as a fat girl? Would people want to see a size 16 girl dance? Why should I wear spanx? Why are some girls more than half my size and twice my beauty even less confident in their own skin? Why do people want the perfect skin colour by tanning or bleaching or whatever other methods there may be? Why shouldn’t I have hairy legs or armpits or god forbid a hairy Mary? Why do I need long hair on my head but not on my big toe? What is a beach body? Can I model clothes even if I have a spare tyre (or two)? Why are there such strict rules on what a woman can do with her body? Why do women judge other women so harshly? Why do people think it is their business to tell other people they do not look ‘right’? Why do we have columns in magazines and TV programmes specifically to tell people how bad they look and that they need to change? Why are female prime ministers legs spoken about on the front pages of tabloid newspapers rather than their politics?
I want to know it all and more. So I am embarking on this year of self discovery as well as hopefully learning a lot about my fellow humans and how we are obsessed with our outer form and the relationship with our inner being and how we can bring balance and learn to love ourselves for who we are and not what we want to be, who we want to be like or what other people think we should be like. Simply for the form both inside and outside that we take at this very moment in time.
So I’m going to finish off by saying I want to talk, If you have issues I want to talk if you don’t have any issues at all I want to talk. I want to hear from people who have answers to any of these questions or questions to pose of their own! It’s all in aid of what is to be hopefully an art piece based around movement and dance to begin with but who knows where it will go!
You can comment below with anything you feel you want to share or alternitavely, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message via my facebook page.