Writing this blog has been a little like a visit to the dentist. The thought and anticipation of the event being worse than the event itself. As someone who expresses herself by interpreting other peoples’ words through directing and is completely comfortable and secure in that, expressing myself through the written word alone is a little daunting. But as I am learning along the way we are having to put ourselves in situations that we would usually run away from screaming never looking back and this is good for us. The best example of this was last Saturday.
After a full on week of running our first Youth Theatre project, merging scripted and devised work with a group of youngsters who were well and truly up for it, we made our way to a Edinburgh Fringe Roadshow at the Pleasance Theatre. It was about how to make the most of your Edinburgh experience, advice on dealing with the media and promoting your show, all useful stuff. Jo and I were making our separate ways there, after Jo’s last blog where she moaned about my time keeping I had given myself ample time to ensure I was on time. Ironically Jo, experiencing train diversion nightmares somewhere between Guildford and Woking, sent me a text saying she’d be late and I should head to the Pleasance without her, mingle and go and work my magic. Bugger.
I arrived to face my own personal nightmare. I am no good at small talk or self-promotion and here I was in a small bar with lots of people all mingling, chatting away, exuding confidence, as I stood, with a diet coke (other beverages were available) in hand, trying to think of ways to start up a conversation with a complete stranger who may or may not be someone I should be trying to impress. It goes without saying that by the time my glass was empty I still hadn’t managed it. Eventually a young woman with a friendly face came up to me and introduced herself, a little anxious and a little relieved I shook her hand and introduced myself, told her about our company and Jo’s tardy timekeeping and I began to ease into the situation. She then asked me a question about who was doing our marketing. WHAT? I don’t know the answer. Of course I know the answer but in that situation words or anything resembling a normal thought process failed me. I heard myself saying “Oh I’m not sure, that’s why Jo should be here, she knows all of that kind of stuff!” and gave a ridiculous giggle. Ground swallow me up please. Undeterred by my more than stupid response she continued to politely talk to me about her role within the Ed Fringe team and the useful services they provide, including something called a Clash Diary. I later found out this is a very useful thing!
Jo eventually arrived, we soaked in all of the advice from the panel and their top tips. Afterwards Jo and I chatted to people, asking questions, listening to their experiences. We left full of ideas, questions and a little more confidence. On reflection I have realised a few things; those 15 minutes alone in the bar, feeling awkward were worth it. I can express myself in words. Jo and I are better as a pair and I need to make a dentist appointment in the near future.