Journey to Writing...

Journey to writing...

I remember friends who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they were only ten years old and they've ended up doing exactly what they set out to... I wasn't one of those people although I first started scribbling down stories and poems when I was about twelve years old.

As children me, my two sisters and brother moved around a bit because of my parent's work

Hull High Shool for Girls (Hull) Lowther Endowed School (Penrith, Cumbria) Adcote School for Girls, (Shropshire) and Wellington 6th Form College (Telford)

Then on to:
Bristol University ( BA Hons. English Literature) and later to The Central School of Speech and Drama, London ( MA Arts Education).

Between Sixth Form and Uni I had a year off au pairing for a VERY famous French actress' daughter. Sorry, can't tell who as I signed a secrecy agreement! But thanks to said totally gorgeous French actress got into Le Cours Florent Drama College, Paris and there discovered that I was defiinitely more of a writer than an actor!!! Although I was drawn to working in theatre. I thought maybe there was work for me that spanned theatre and working with young people. (I'd done a play at university with a community tour and loved working with children and young people)

I was drawn to London and the diversity of the City school because in the words of the great writer and teacher Noel Greig...

"When you walk into a city school you encounter the world in your classroom."

Although I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do ( or even if such work existed) I knew I wanted to explore creative encounters between young people and theatre...

After Uni  I was lucky enough to get my dream job. Community Theatre Worker at The Royal Court Young People's Theatre. Working with the communites in and around Ladbroke Grove I discovered why it's important to do thorough research.  I was asked to give a talk on 'Trainers'... I was half way through when a boy politely put his hand up and said 'We are talking about the problem of people pinching the trainers off our feet, not getting educated!'

As part of the writing workshops I held working with great writers such as Hanif Kureshi, April de Angelis and Winsome Pinnock, I was able to get first hand advice from inspirational practitioners.

Then on to Talawa Theatre Company where as Education Director and Dramaturg I devised Education Programmes and Summer schools around a diverse range of plays including work by Wole Soyinka, Tanika Gupta, Ntozake Shange, Ida Mae Holland and Tariq Ali.

After having a family I went freelance working for companies such as:

Tamasha Theatre Company ( Lyrical MC and Arrivals and Tamasha Intercultural Millennium Education)

Royal Shakespeare Company (Maps At Midnight) British and American tour
(Women's Hour Interview BBC Radio 4 21 Feb 2003 - Available on Archive)

London International Festival of Theatre ( Walk Along A River With Me)

(See blog section on Theatre Work for more details)

My work has been presented and performed at theatres throughout Britain including: The Unicorn Theatre, Soho Theatre, Oval House, The Birmingham Rep,  Manchester Contact Theatre and The Half Moon Theatre.

Career highlight in theatre.... working at the Apollo Theatre, NYC and with the wonderful team of people  at The University of Michigan linking to schools and communities in Ann Arbor and Detroit.

I have worked extensively in schools and on teacher training programmes in Britain and America.

Now it's a great pleasure to be going back into schools to do talks and creative writing projects on my novels for the very young people who are such an inspiration to me in my writing.

Teachers wishing to contact me for schools visits and signings should contact my Publicist Catherine Alport at Macmillan:

Academic publication:
On the Subject of Drama. Ed: David Hornbrook. Routledge

Chapter based on my MA Dissertation: 'Theatre And The World'.

Interviewed in 'The No Rules handbook for writers'  by Lisa Goldman  Published by Oberon Books 2012