I engage in a wide variety of professional learning, in a diverse range of contexts. Here are some I have selected:
The Midsteeple Quarter
I don’t have children yet, but often speak about wanting to bring them up in a place they are proud of, somewhere they don’t necessarily have to leave to fulfil their potential. I want to bring them up in Dumfries, but my Dumfries High Street is dying and it is no longer the attractive bustling place it once was – no-one feels proud anymore. I am aware that my love for Dumfries is not enough to save it. For Dumfries to become a town people are proud to call home, I recognise we must join forces to create positive change. So how on earth can I, with my passion for performance, care and an arts degree, contribute to this change and make a difference? How can I be the change?
I am currently a board member of the Midsteeple Quarter, the trading name of a new Community Benefit Society which has been set up to enable local people to help shape a prosperous, compassionate and vibrant Dumfries town centre for the future. This project aims to take ownership of a group of disused buildings on our High Street, refurbish them and steward them for the community, as affordable enterprise space at street level and good quality flats for rent on the floors above.
The Doon Toon Army is a collective of people who support the Midsteeple Quarter and want to contribute to this change in Dumfries. It is made up of volunteers of all different ages, skills and walks of life – all with a keen interest in making the town a better place to be. They bring about change by making practical improvements in the town centre.
The street cleans will now be a regular occurrence, and the next step is to repaint and fix the side closes on the High Street and add signs and murals.
The Doon Toon Army are available to help with outreaching community projects around Dumfries, so any organisations looking for help are encouraged to get in touch with us! To find all information on the latest events, please visit the Midsteeple Quarter Facebook page: www.facebook.com/midsteeplequarter
Arts in Criminal Justice Settings
In 2018, I worked in HMP Low Moss for the duration of one week, in collaboration with Eoin Mckenzie and Murray Wason. During this period, we facilitated and collaborated with 12 prisoners in order to make a heartfelt and memorable performance. "Champion" explored what and who we champion through text, movement and song. Not only was this the first time many of the participants had ever performed or taken part in drama, it was also a chance for their voices to be heard, their opinions and ideas to be shared and for them to be listened to, as human beings.
Secondment provided me with the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of the workings of a professional company and learn through practical involvement as well as observation. In 2018, I worked with The Stove, a Dumfries based community arts organisation which aims to use the arts to engage and empower people for themselves, the places they live and society at large. I am still a member of the Stove Network and you can follow my journey with them and find out what I am up to through my blog.
Find out more about The Stove Network by following this link to their website: https://www.thestove.org/
Arts in Medical Contexts: Experimental Practice
In 2015, I worked with patients in The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice. This was a collaboration between The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the hospice which offered a six week residency where we experimented with a range of different art forms to discover a medium in which we could all take part in. During our time here we wrote and sang songs, created a video, arranged flowers, drew self portraits with our eyes closed, told stories through a sensory means, had conversations and played a variation of games.
Performance in Social Contexts
In 2015/16, I facilitated and collaborated with primary 6 of Oakwood Primary School (over a six week residency) and primary 7 of Thornwood Primary school, both situated in Glasgow. We worked together to create a performance in their school, for their families and peers to watch. Both of these projects were very successful; encouraging young people to learn within a different context in their school environment. Not only did they learn new drama skills, it also allowed participants to build confidence in developing their own critical voice.
Electric Theatre Workshop
In 2012, I joined Electric Theatre Workshop (ETW) - the only professional theatre company in Dumfries and Galloway. It produces high-quality performance work which is presented throughout the region. In 2013, I began a one-year internship with the company so I could immersive myself in all things performance. I became ETW'S first Associate Artist. This role also allowed me to work at the Big Burns Supper Festival, a festival held in Dumfries every January in celebration of Robert Burns. Throughout my year, I engaged in many exciting opportunities.
I was cast as the lead female superhero in the production "We Can Be Heroes" which was performed as the opening show of the Big Burns Supper Festival, 2013. This particular show was one of the most ambitious outdoor dance and theatre shows ever to be staged in Scotland - we appeared on BBC News for our work.
I participated in a 7-day writing and theatre-making residential, where I was mentored by Bryony Kimmings.
Set up Dumfries and Galloway Youth Theatre alongside leading Dumfries Youth Theatre.
I directed a piece named "Tomorrow", written by Simon Vinnicomb, for National Theatre's Connections which was shown at the Edinburgh Lyceum.
I was given the role of the Homecoming Carnival Coordinator for Big Burns Supper 2014 - which entailed gathering a variety of community groups from Dumfries and Galloway in order to march through the town of Dumfries, holding lanterns they had made themselves. I also worked on Box Office throughout this festival, was an Artist Liaison and supported my two youth theatre's in their own contemporary performances.