I’m on my second Ferment-developed show. My second!
This may not seem that incredible as I’m 32, but as I only really started at 30 I’m pretty proud.
Mass – my new show – is about my relationship with faith. And how although I consider myself to be an atheist, there are elements of religion that I think might be useful, both for me and for society as whole.
I started thinking about it last year when I was on a London bus that ran two people over. I found myself praying for the first time in years and it made me question the way I – and we, as an increasingly secular society – respond to tragedy and how we form our own ideas about morality.
I was brought up as Catholic, so the show is told using the form of a catholic mass, with me as a kind of wonky secular priest. It’s funny, and a bit odd, and has lots of music. You should come!
It’s kind of a brave thing to do. Brave because it’s my first real solo show, and because I might get in trouble with God and/or my mother.
The show is actually pretty respectful about religion and my aim isn’t to be critical or shocking but I still feel a bit guilty for even doing a show about faith at all. Nothing three more years of therapy won’t be able to sort out.
My previous show The Islanders, did far better than I expected it to do (I expected very little).
This isn’t some kind of horrible modesty, I was REALLY surprised. I came up with the idea and and emailed Sharon Clarke (at Ferment) about it on a mad impulse. I was a (kind-of) writer, though I’d never performed before. I thought ‘I’m 30, I’m never going to be given permission to do this stuff’.
When Sharon replied that they wanted to programme it I had ten million breakdowns just thinking about it but then settled down (heavily medicated) to write it.
Now, I’m properly proud of it. I made people laugh! And cry! (Not just me. Although me most of all. Obv). I got to go to Edinburgh and do a bloody tour! And I know I can speak on stage without puking or crying.
None of this is really relevant. I’m just saying it because I want people to know that you can have some success with a good idea and by being really brave, even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. I left school at 16 and have no qualifications. For a long time I really doubted myself and thought that university was some magic place where you got made into a proper person. Now I realise that’s rubbish. NO-ONE, however qualified, really feels like they know what they’re doing. And if they do they should probably be a bit braver and try something new.
You can probably tell from the second part of this blog that I’ve read lots of self-help books. My new show’s a bit about that as well. So if you’re interested in God, buses, tall women dressing up like idiots, self-help and/or pop music, you should definitely come to see my new show. July 17th! See you there (please).
Bristol Old Vic Studio
Thu 17 Jul, 8.30pm