Part of our series of blogs from people across the country about what theatre has done for them and their community.
Beccy lives in Blackpool with her husband and children and is part of our Shakespeare Nation project with Blackpool Grand Theatre.
I fell in love with performing at school and loved to take part in creating and performing as well as going to the theatre. I was lucky enough to be born and brought up in Blackpool, home of the beautiful Grand Theatre, and I was a member of the Blackpool Grand Youth Theatre in my teens. My love of performing also led me to do a degree in Contemporary Theatre.
I was heading to work in the performing arts. But, life doesn’t always work out as you expect. Suffering from depression I headed home after uni and ended up taking jobs in social care, then admin and before I knew it I’d been working in an office for nearly 10 years.
Then life took a few other turns and I became a mum and gave up work to care for my disabled husband.
Life was stressful and I didn’t have much time for myself. It wasn’t until the opportunity to work with the Grand Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company came up that I realised just how much theatre really means to me.
In the years since leaving uni and walking away from my childhood dream of being an actor I’d gone to the theatre a handful of times, but being back working with others to create something and working in theatre itself just made me want to go to the theatre as much as I could.
Working on the Shakespeare Nation project to create a collaborative performance was so inspiring and had such a positive affect on my mental wellbeing. I have my ups and downs with depression and anxiety and since having a baby and giving up work I wasn’t feeling too great.
At the start of the project I was nervous and didn’t feel confident in sharing and working with people I didn’t know but I quickly found my confidence and enthusiasm building. It was a joy to be creative and to connect with a group of people I wouldn’t otherwise have met.
Being asked to be a Shakespeare Champion was such an honour, I’m passionate about encouraging others to engage with our local theatre and to support them to attend live performances.
I’d been looking forward to upcoming events and performances when we went into lockdown. I found it tough, as many others did. I felt disconnected and lacked the enthusiasm to do anything.
Then Jo and Ian, from the Grand and the RSC, suggested we all have a Zoom get together, which became the first of several. It was just what I needed, I felt energised and enthusiastic about working together and creating something. I loved being able to connect with people and discuss something we share a passion for.
Meeting virtually has been great but isn’t the same as actually being with people. Working together during lockdown had made me keen to find a way to carry on working to create and perform.
The amount of live performances available on TV and streaming during lockdown has been brilliant. It’s been great to watch theatre I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see but it can’t replace the feeling of live theatre. Sitting together in a theatre with other people all waiting to watch a live performance, there’s such a sense of occasion, of connection. Unfortunately, watching on my own at home on TV just wasn’t the same.
I can’t wait until I can step through those doors, take my seat, wait for the lights to go down, the audience to hush, and the curtain to rise…