When I was 23, I was lucky enough to be selected for the Motley Theatre Design Course, then based at the Riverside Studios in London, and under the direction of the late Margaret Harris. We were fortunate enough to work on projects with Danny Boyle, Edward Bond, Bill Gaskill and Hayden Griffin, which included Early Morning by Edward Bond, The White Devil by John Webster and The Father by August Strindberg.
It was a very special year, and the influence of both the course and the other students has always formed an enduring part of my creative life. Meeting up with my fellow students again was a privilege, and after much conversation and reminiscence, we joined to drink a toast to the late Paul Brown, one of our year who sadly passed away in 2017.
Out of many facts about me, the fact that I am an assault survivor was not an issue I ever thought I would need to discuss on my outdoor blog. I have been trying to redirect people to this site for personal information since early 2014.
And so – I am still feeling my way around how to express this issue. Although I have fought not to let aggression towards me as a child affect the present, moving back to Newcastle meant that those old fears began to affect all aspects of my life.
One of the more enlightened decisions made by the authorities was to refer me to a cognitive therapist when I lived in London. Since then I have successfully used techniques from a type of cognitive therapy to help me to overcome my anxieties and remain positive. To this end I set myself various targets to master (it doesn’t matter how small they are). I then make a list of how I will achieve those targets and continually appraise my own progress in achieving each aim towards my ultimate goal. At first my targets were tiny things which seemed huge at the time, like going for a walk.
I used to write it all down but I have been using these techniques for so long that they are totally internal now. I have rarely explained them like this, as I’ve never considered it to be all that interesting to anyone other than myself. The techniques may not work for everyone but they continue in the background, whatever else is happening in my life.
To illustrate using an example of this process, I often set targets which challenge or conquer my fears, so I set myself a target to become experienced at wild camping on my blog. I made the mistake of sharing this challenge on my outdoor Twitter account and it was savaged by trolls.
I hope that some good will come of my making this post, and that it may be helpful to some readers. My advice is not to share your journey on public social media platforms such as Twitter, as trolls can and will undo the work of twenty years in half an hour if you let them.
Remember that this is entirely their problem and not yours. Hopefully social media safety people will realise this eventually and toughen up their responses.
I have uploaded a set of three showreels to highlight the different specialisms within my design work. Take a look at my YouTube Channel to view my Design, Costume and Set showreels on my Showreels playlist.
I created this news feed in 2017 for my work and personal news. Because it had become quite depressing to see the extent to which visitors to my various sites seemed more interested in my personal news than my work, research or interests, I took a break from work for 2015/16 to do an M.A. and to reflect on where this left my life and my career.
My late mum was the tragic casualty of hacking and harassment for the ten years prior to her death in 2009. For the avoidance of doubt, where all this leaves things is at an end. I really don’t know what I was thinking when I confided in people about the rape and assaults which are a part of my past at a time when my mother was terminally ill. All I can say is that I genuinely thought people would care about my family during such an awful time.
I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the victim counsellor who rescued me from distress which had become completely disabling by 2016, and gave it a name.