So, to kick-start, a bit about my run up to this particular Door.
I’ve volunteered with 24:7 as a Deputy House Manager for the past two years and have revelled in the live buzz of the festival. It has been a real privilege to support the performances; the programme of work has been diverse, and consistently fantastic… and made me hungry for the chance to be a part of making them happen from a production level.
Which is where Foot In The Door kicks in! I was delighted to be offered a place on the PANDA training week, which would culminate in some participants being attached to this year’s 24:7 productions and affiliated companies. The prospect of a “week-long interview” was rather daunting, not least as I had little idea what to expect. However, any apprehensions were swept away over the course of the week. As part of a supportive and diverse group, I learned to recognise what makes “me”: how my acquaintances and experiences (good and bad) have built me so far; how I relate to others; and where I want to step up in my career from here. It was wonderful to be allowed this time and space to reflect on myself, my past, my practice and my hopes for my career.
What particularly stuck with me was the opening of communication as a two-way street: I found a new confidence in articulating my thoughts and experiences to others in the group, and in turn developed listening and questioning skills to encourage others to open themselves… ironically, I find this experience difficult to articulate here, but I’m sure it will prove to be a key to many future Doors I face in my life and career.
This all sounds wonderfully liberating and empowering… in theory. The clincher came when we were told we would be preparing and delivering a presentation about ourselves before an assortment of theatre professionals, including members of the potential placement companies. Although not the easiest of surprises, what startled me most was how “unstartled” I was by this prospect. Nerves balanced out with excitement as I realised, I could do this. I am worth listening to, even for as long as 5 minutes! With the support of PANDA and my peers, I learned to value myself, my experience and my aspirations as a theatre practitioner. On the day of the presentations, I was thrilled to openly and honestly present myself before the not-so scary artistic assembly, and to witness my fellow “Footies” take the challenge in their strides.
I am delighted to now be on the next step of my Foot In The Door journey, as I have been placed with Scallywags. This is children’s theatre company that have been chosen to devise a site-specific family-friendly piece to be performed at Manchester Museum as part of this year’s 24:7 Festival. More on that to follow after tonight’s Media Launch, but so far, it’s looking like I’m in for a very exciting adventure!
Jenny Owen, checking out.