I know it’s a little late to be talking about New Year’s Resolutions now, but that’s where our story begins. I decided to stop making all the regular excuses (i.e. lack of time, money, and opportunities), and to throw myself into as many opportunities as possible and take everything I can from them. Last weekend I thought it was time to put things into action and booked myself into a workshop for £5. It’s cheap, it’s something (hopefully) constructive to do and who knows – maybe this time I’ll actually utilise what I get from the day. What did I get? A bloody good day, and some rather exciting ideas.
The session kicked off with the kind of self-motivational exercises you associate with corporate training days and board meetings – taking account of the previous year’s achievements and shortfalls and using our findings to establish goals for the coming year. Sounds fairly bog standard and clinical, yes? But when you do this with a room full of creatives at the Tobacco Factory it’s a whole different experience. There were lists of aspirations, interpretive drawings, much nattering, baroque music and some very constructive personal findings. Suddenly we found ourselves quite happily bragging to our neighbours about our steadily growing list of achievements, which only the day before had sounded fairly miniscule and pathetic. What a nice turnaround!
But it wasn’t the point of this session to just give our egos a nice little massage. It was all geared towards recognising what works for us, what doesn’t and what we’re missing that would really move things forwards. The afternoon gave way to a fabulously well-attended forum on all things theatre in the Bristol area, with talks about the various opportunities on offer from a range of venues, companies and organisations such as TheatreBristol.net, the Tobacco Factory Theatre and the Bristol Old Vic. It was inspirational to hear about the initiatives in place for artists and companies in Bristol, from a range of scratch nights to development residencies and even a Puppet Surgery (all details can be found on www.theatrebristol.net). It really gave me a feel for the enthusiasm with which Bristol’s theatre community is actively encouraging growth and productivity.
It was in this vein that we put our heads together to discuss what we want for Bristol’s future and how we can get the necessary balls rolling, considering all that we had identified in the morning session and heard in the forum. What a motivating start to what is set to be another hard year. There was talk of a Peer Mentoring Scheme, a Bristol version of London’s Actor’s Centre, funding and so on. The forum really brought out practical ideas and initiatives, so I’m really excited to see what will spring up in the wake of this invaluable day.
So for my first AYT blog I just want to say, get doing! Set your own goals, ask questions, talk to fellow creatives. Look out for your nearest forum-type gathering or set up your own. Two brains can be better than one and a room full of creatives… well just imagine the possibilities. And as for whether or not I’m using what I took away from this wonderful day, well, I’ve started ticking off my list of goals (hurrah!) and I have started the ball rolling on a few ideas of my very own… Watch out for some exciting times.