Helping To Make Lives A Little Better
I feel very lucky to have been actively involved with some wonderful charities and campaigns over the years.
Scene & Heard is a unique mentoring project that partners the inner-city children of Somers Town, London with volunteer theatre professionals. The children benefit from one to one adult support enabling them to write plays which are then performed by professional actors.
The children are encouraged to write non human characters in order to free their imaginations from the day to day.
I’ve played the real Statue of Liberty from Birmingham, an Angel fish, a piece of blu tack, and a cross Dirty Worm who was in a play with an Elvis impersonating Rhino!
“I have two words to say to you Wormerus.. Anger. Management.”
If you have never been, it is the BEST night in the theatre.. anywhere!
InterAct Stroke Support is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting stroke recovery by using professional actors to deliver a live and interactive reading service in hospitals and stroke clubs to people who have suffered a stroke.
It was founded by theatre director Caroline Smith. She recognised that the particular skills of an actor, not only in performance, but in their finely tuned antennae to read a sensitive situation, could be employed to help stimulate stroke survivors.
I have read in various hospitals and stroke clubs, to acute and rehab patients, and for several years in a stroke club in Sudbury. I choose a 45 minute programme of short stories, poetry, jokes etc. and often the pieces will be a springboard for memories or opinion. The sessions are always really uplifting, for me and for the members.
I felt privileged to be involved in this powerful awareness raising campaign a few years ago.
The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families, promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep and raises awareness on sudden infant death.
Working with the NHS we run a national health-visitor led service for bereaved parents, Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme, which supports families before and after the birth of their new baby.
We are committed to supporting research to understand why so many babies a year die suddenly and unexpectedly in the UK and to find out more about how to prevent these tragic deaths.
As a parent myself, I was very keen to support the work of the Parents in Performing Arts Campaign in the run up to its launch at the Young Vic in Oct ’15
Since then PIPA has brought together a new consortium of leading UK theatres and arts organisations, unprecedented both in scale and reach across the performing arts, who are committed to work together to back and support PIPA’s mission.
The mission is to achieve sustainable change in attitudes and practices in order to attract, support and retain a more diverse and flexible workforce in the Performing Arts.
I was asked to join this campaign following my work to support PIPA. I feel very strongly about the aims of this campaign.
ERA’s mission is a simple one. We want to see women represented on screen, in television and theatre in equal numbers to men.
Equal means 50:50
Currently women are systemically under represented. This does not accurately reflect our society.
It distorts our view of the real world.
We ask that casting and creative decisions made by commissioners and programme makers are held up to a basic requirement of a 50:50 gender balance across their content yearly.
Although I have no direct involvement in this collaborative initiative I think this is a fabulous resource for our industry.
Set up to support people in the creative industries
ArtsMinds is a collaborative initiative from BAPAM (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine), Equity, Spotlight and The Stage to bring together into one place a raft of resources for performers and creative practitioners facing mental health issues.
Our starting point was to try to uncover the scale of mental health issues within our industry by putting out a survey to our members and networks to which more than 5000 people responded. This site reflects their concerns.