6 years ago I finished university, the banks crashed and I was miserable as hell.
I moved back in with my parents and applied to every job in theatre that I could find in Yorkshire. I had a drama degree and some work experience. I ended up selling chopping boards from suitcases on industrial estates in Bradford.
I kept applying for jobs in theatre. I kept getting nowhere. Meanwhile my Dad ran off to a bedsit with a tesco bag full of hoodies and a woman half my mother’s age.
I lost my job selling chopping boards (I hadn’t sold any) and got a job as a receptionist in a law firm where I was given a brown pin striped suit from the 80’s to wear. Heels, makeup and a 90 degree ponytail were obligatory as part of my ‘contractual obligation to look presentable.’ I would colour in a circle for every hour that went by. Eventually I became friends with one of the lawyers. We would eat sausage rolls and look round the art gallery on lunch hours. People didn’t like this. Before long rumours spread that I was sleeping with half of the firm.
I decided it was time to get out.
On the 1st October I’m performing a show about how I bought a plane ticket to New York with the hope of escaping. It’s a story about how I threw away my principles and worked in a strip club for feet to fund an arts internship. About how I ended up taking money from men who wanted to touch my feet. The show explores how as a young woman in our culture I was meant to feel powerful through feeling ‘sexy.’ How the media is full of young women, (older women are nowhere to be seen but thats another blog post) having fun and wearing killer heels. The show is about how as a young woman I felt trivial and irrelevant.
6 years later, I’m bringing the show to Bradford where it all began. It will be exciting and daunting in equal measure to perform in such a meaningful place.
I hope it has got easier for young people to get involved in the arts in Yorkshire. I wonder how many have to struggle to find a way to complete unpaid arts internships just to be seen at an interview or how many have to go elsewhere.
Most importantly I hope the next young woman who is told to wear that bloody brown suit tells them to fuck off.