International Women’s Day: A lady once stopped to tell me a story about my own life that startled me.
‘I see you at a crossroads between two passions – sport and theatre. You have a choice to make.’
You see, what I hadn’t told her was that athletics had been ingrained in me from an early age. Every school sports day I used to wait eagerly for the 100m race. I’d line up alongside my friends and wait in anticipation for the whistle to blow, jerking my body into action and willing my legs to run the race of their life.
As the years passed I joined a local Medway athletics club and trained for the 300m and 400m sprint events. One year, I was ranked 7th in the English School Championships with a time of 41.7 seconds for the 300m. I fed on the adrenaline of training and competing. I felt at home on the track. I knew that I belonged.
Yet I ended up choosing theatre.
I’m a stage director and creative producer for live and theatrical events. As the years went by I went to the University of Kent at Canterbury and studied an MDrama in Drama and Theatre Studies. From there I went to work in London and spent six years delving into artist development and working with some of the most well known theatres spaces in London. In 2013, I completed a MA in Creative Producing for Live and Theatrical events.
Telling stories has always been in my DNA. Enabling someone to bring their story to life fills me with another sense of purpose. It stops becoming about me and begins an enriching journey to showcase others talents and collaborate on something beautiful together.
That lady did see me clearly that day.
I still take elements of athletics and embed it in my work ethos. Carving a path for the arts in Medway has not been an easy journey – there’s competition, false starts, at times even feeling like you are running in circles. Yet, athletics gave me the drive to be determined, to fail and get back up again. To know how it feels to keep going and feel yourself getting closer to that finish line.
Today, I challenge you to be like these women and to adopt some of the lessons they’ve passed down through herstory. Athletics taught me to be brave, be bold, take chances and stand firmly in your own lane. I challenge you today to hold your head up high, push forward and remember to never look back. Run your own race. You’ve got this!
Happy International Women’s Day!
This International Women’s Day, I want to thank the following women for having the courage to take to the starting blocks and run their own race in life, and for inspiring my own journey along the way.
“Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
—Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Nina Simone – Not afraid to speak her truth via her lyrics and music. Her music is like medicine to the ears. Mississippi is a great reminder to refuse to accept others limitations on your life, that you do belong and to not ‘go slow’.
Ntozake Shange– A wonderful poet and playwright. She wrote the first play that I ever directed for the stage, with a wonderful cast of seven women who to this day are still my firm friends.
Finally, to all of my ancestors who refused to settle for less, and in particular my two gran’s who took the bold decision to move to England from the Caribbean to carve out new paths. I wouldn’t be creating theatre in Medway if it wasn’t for them.