Alex here, musing and amusing, cake taster, lord of the rings, theatrically-inclined sort, and Engagement Producer here at Proteus.
My role at Proteus is all about working with our audiences and communities to understand what it is we can be doing to help. For many of our young people, that is through offering magical theatre experiences through Proteus Youth Theatre. I love hearing all about their worlds and what has happened to them each week when they come together for weekly sessions – at the beginning of each session we share our news, a space to reflect and celebrate the good, and also discuss any challenges we’ve faced. This gears us up for the session and allows us to feel safe and to express ourselves fully, leaving us feeling re-engergised and open to learning, experiencing and taking creative risks.
These moments of news sharing, while incredibly valuable, can sometimes go on for a little longer than anticipated, so in that spirit, I’ve decided to name this weekly ‘column’, “Alex’s Wednesday Witterings”. I don’t claim to be any source of particular genius, but I am very good at wondering aimlessly and strolling into the distance. I am also known amongst my colleagues for being a resident ‘Chatty Kathy’… Anyway! Last week I invited you, dearest readers, to take on the challenge of noticing moments of happiness each day – a brief interlude to appreciate the ‘little things’. In that realm of thinking, I started to ponder a little more…
Now we find ourselves in a communal grey area where we can’t really plan anything, and that can feel somewhat destabilising, almost like someone has pressed the pause button on us.
In this very unusual time, I am guilty of trying to think ahead, and further ahead, and then even further ahead, which isn’t always the most helpful thing. As humans we are wired to try and plan every aspect of our lives – our day-to-day existence, until recently, has been based around the plans we make.
As theatre-makers, we are particularly thoughtful sorts, and when left to our imaginations we can go to wonderful places, but also uncertain places. Now we find ourselves in a communal grey area where we can’t really plan anything, and that can feel somewhat destabilising, almost like someone has pressed the pause button on us. I tried to ask myself, does the pause button have to be a scary thing?
the world is illuminating and even in the most troubling of times, light will always find its way to the earth.
Whilst having a moment of this myself, last week, and struggling to find a creative idea or spark, a friend of mine sent me this photo of a rose from her garden. I just thought it was completely amazing. The petals are totally perfect, and the colour is divine. Inspired, I pranced out to my own garden and looked around. I heard the birds singing to each other, and noticed a neighbour dropping some supplies off to one of the more vulnerable, elderly members of our community. I also saw the flowers starting to open up fully, and felt the sun shining brightly – surely a sign that Spring is here? A time to celebrate the start of the new, and to realise that the days are getting longer – the world is illuminating and even in the most troubling of times, light will always find its way to the earth.
I only spent about five minutes admiring the ‘now’ around me, and after that, went back to working remotely indoors. But, taking that moment to pause – and being in control of that pause – and just seeing what was in front of me was actually a very wonderful thing. In honesty, I didn’t quite feel ready to fully celebrate the idea that things can, and will, get better – I still feel like I am comprehending the sheer volume of change that we have all, collectively, endured over the past few weeks. But, in attempting to keep on keeping on, I do now feel that this is an idea I am, myself, opening up to – in fact, I rather like it.
We are worriers (and warriors!) by nature, and it is part of being human to try to understand, and to try to adapt. I have seen remarkably innovative things happening with families working out how to ‘do’ home learning; professionals shifting their practice to fit remote working and daily Zoom meetings; amazing classes and workshops moving to online settings.
I have also seen people not do these things exactly, but, rather, attempt to unpick and understand vast amounts of information that they are being told. Most of which changes on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. All the while, supporting and protecting all of their loved ones and just managing to keep their homes feeling like a sanctuary, as they adapt, like all of us, at a rate faster than anything we’d usually face. All of these things matter, all of them are valid, all of them must be celebrated, and all of them can benefit from hitting that pause button.
To seek knowledge is only a good thing, but my challenge to you this week, is to also seek out those moments of ‘pressing pause’ each day – whatever that means to you. Stop and really look around you and remember that the sun must always come up. Be brave!
Have you pressed the pause button this week? Please do feel free share any of your moments with us.