A post by our new Artistic Director, Karen Spicer.

September 2021. 

I turn 60.

I have bubbles and birthday fun with my glorious Mum. We toast each other, toast those we love whether still with us or gone. 

We talk of how glorious it is and how grateful we are that “My dear… we’re still here”. Here to laugh, celebrate, love, be in the life we love, doing what we love, with those we love.

September 2021.

I say YES.

Yes to the terrifying yet totally exhilarating offer to become joint Artistic Director of Damn Cheek! I say Yes. Yes to Darren. Yes to learning, to growing, to being out of my comfort zone. 

Five minutes later I want to ring Darren and say NO. 

I meant No. I like my comfort zone, I just want to be an actor sometimes. No, I can t do it. I can’t do it tonight, today, tomorrow, never…

I don’t though. I don’t say No. I don’t say No because this is a gift, an opportunity. How can I stay curious, creative, playful if I don’t say Yes to having a go, to living my life, to adding a new chapter to my story? To discovering so many other stories.

So I slowly begin. I open a book. A notebook.

On the first page I write words given to me by Jenny Sealey – a director, artist, communicator, story teller, dear friend, sharer of words and performances. Jenny’s words are “Don’t underestimate your own lived experience.” They are wonderful words to share. So I jot down some ideas, a list of tasks to tick off, some thoughts about feeding back on new plays.

Then I have my very first official meeting. 

Full of plans, dates, times, minutes. Full of dreams, questions, distractions, a dog barking, an iPad suddenly flashing up a warning ‘low battery’. (And I’d told myself to plug it in!) Full of laughter, refocusing, tea, water, support, encouragement. A gathering, a coming together to share a passion. A passion to tell, receive, share stories great and small, to witness and be a part of performances in places great and small. The meeting ends… another one is scheduled.

I’m asked to write a blog. I do.

Just before I begin to type my blog up, I pause. I open another book. A book called ‘Playwriting’ by Noel Greig. Noel: writer, director, actor, teacher, mentor, my dear friend. No longer with us in person but always by my side. The words Noel has left on a page for us to read are:

“Gathering together to witness a performance, we are celebrating our ability – our need – to reflect on the conditions that make (or unmake) us human. Private concerns are made public, the invisible is made visible.” 

Thank you Noel.

Thank You Damn Cheek for asking me to say Yes.

Yes to being a part of gathering in whatever way we can, when we can, to reflect on our being human.

Lie down, have a GnT.

First days gone in a daze.