HATE CRIME AWARENESS WEEK!

HATE CRIME AWARENESS WEEK!

So, what’s this all about and what is it you’re all actually doing?

We are Kieran, Sophie, Jemima and Margot….four actors currently touring  AlterEgo Theatre Company’s new show, ‘Feel the Hate.’ The play is the fictional retelling of four different characters, deriving from a collaboration of verbatim narrative (taken from true stories of residents within the Cumbria area.) Ania – a sixteen year old Polish female, Susanna – a sixteen year old English girl who has converted to Islam, Joe – A sixteen year old homosexual male and Kim – also sixteen with MD (Muscular Dystrophy.)

It was at the beginning of 2016 when the company brought the script (in its early stages) up to Cumbria for a bit of a read. Between four actors, the director and police we had a session to scope where it was going and if there was any other relevant stories we could include that were issues up this end of the country that maybe we hadn’t touched upon. After discussing with Cumbria Police, they gave significant feedback and after a few tweaks and additions have stuck by the company resulting in the ‘go ahead’ and then commissioning us to make this project come alive and our tour possible!

In addition to this fantastic project, it just so happens that National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 8-15th)  falls during this time (on our third week of touring) and we’re feeling pretty darn passionate about not only the show but a lot of stories within the media that are extremely relative and linking to the post show talk at the end!

‘ Hate Crime is any incident which may or may not be a crime that anyone perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity. This covers race, identified gender, disability, ethnicity or sexuality.’

Over our last two weeks, we shall be blogging and writing away with the aim to support and get the word out about the project we are doing. There will be specific facts, figures, personal and impersonal features included surrounding the topics within the show. Each day you will get introduced to one of the four characters individually and their stories within the play – Ania, Kim, Joe and Susanna . It will be an insight into where their stories originally came from, what it feels like to play the characters as actors and what surprises, shocks and new found information has come about from delivering and performing the show and post show talk across Cumbria.

Next week, we’ll hopefully have posts from other key figures who have been part of the team – The writer / director, people who have supported and commissioned this wonderful project and hopefully some of our audience members!

Keep up to date, keep informed and in the words of Ania Berlinski:

‘Don’t stand for it. Don’t allow it.

Thankyou.’

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Tour, titivation and tangled oppressive motiv…

Tour, titivation and tangled oppressive motiv…

So it is week three of a five week tour (including rehearsals) and I am among a group of strangers performing to thousands of young people and professionals with a devised show surrounding Hate Crime.

It’s during the times of research and with having the ability to spend the time looking into the Cumbria area that my,our, the company’s eyes really begin to open and see reality of such horrendous events.  The types of hate crime and segregate discontent amongst humans is beyond belief, the lack of knowledge and education in people around the world is incredibly vast and so very varied. It is in the Cumbria area, as we present verbatim pieces of language…stories, people’s lives that the horror of such violence, abuse, incredulous activity and actions come alive in physical form. It has been in some of the most under privileged schools where most questions have come about, the truthful nature of such British extreme groups and people among these ever so closed minded communities really comes out in the open.

It’s standard that when processing, rehearsing and especially starting on a new show that opinions and idealistic voices come out as to what and how much we believe to be true and commonly existent in our lives. The lives of our families, friends and those of strangers fed by our media; which is indeed a big point within our show. Especially surrounding the portrayal of Isis Vs Muslims. I have not really given myself the opportunity to debate as such, nor express certain things when speaking with others in order to simply ‘get out’  how I feel and the frustrations of the political and diabolical atmosphere around us all in this country…well, the world really. The horrendous decisions, lack of and horrifically terrifying laws and rules that new politicians shockingly believe to be a sound reality of living in ‘peace.’ The feedback at the end of this show will be somewhat exceptional, somewhat enormous I am sure and over these next two weeks I, we, us as a company will continue to take notes, give young people a voice and educate the generation before us about just how important making a difference and speaking out in this world really is……We continue! 🙂

 

 

Day seven to eleven – hope in the goodbyes.

Day seven to eleven – hope in the goodbyes.

What this place has taught me is that life really can be beautiful! Spirituality and love in life really do exist and that happiness can indeed be found in all sorts of places and settings. It’s funny how when you don’t really know how or what to think about something then it’s easy to immediately jump to the fear aspect and quintessential point that everything seems scary and somewhat unnerving. Reality is that it’s not – at all! In fact, far from and hugely removed from such thoughts.

I’m currently in transit from Bangkok to Amman and I can honestly say that I am unsure as to how I’m really feeling about going back in the return directions instead of the other. Especially given right now, the referendum vote is occurring and let’s just say it’s really not looking great.  It’s definitely not the same as when I left and that’s only in eleven days! You come so far along, learn to get excited for the ‘next’ and then it hits harder on return. If I’m totally honest, I think that the fact that I am unsure as to what may occur next seems to be the problem. However, I catch myself each time mid-thinking and remind myself that I actually do not now what may occur and that’s okay. To be here, alive for me is a miracle, therefore what’s to say that here on will not be another magnificent beauty of an adventure.

I realise every time that I travel somewhere new, just how much I want to go and see new places even more. The culture, life, way of living and the unique mannerisms that belong to each country, city or town. Each time I visit another, a part of my heart gets captured, completely encapsulated – engulfed by the distinct qualities of the humans I encounter, moments that I experience – sights, sounds and smells. Those moments when it hits you, maybe more so me of just how lucky I am to be living, let alone with the ability to touch, feel, smell and absorb such incredible beauty in another part of the world we live.

I do not and shall not ever understand those who say that they do not want to travel or see the world – to just stay in one place and not open themselves up to others. I’m not saying that every country is for everyone, not at all. What I will stick by though is that people do not know until they try! I know for a fact that I have been both pleasantly surprised and equally not so, with the  most unexpected of places. Again – you don’t know until you go and see! Don’t really have any evidence to place any sort of ‘factually based’ thoughts on anything or anyone as such unless you really do go and put yourselves in their shoes. I genuinally have this theory that a lot of this arrogance and ‘unwillingness’ to go and see other cultures and values is due to fear. The thing that drives all irrational. Since these last six months, I have been one of the most exceptionally anxious and nervous of people but I am thankfully so self-aware from experiencing what I have, that I know what to do in order to help myself. I did it, rather than shying away and hoping things would just mend themselves.

Reality is that I still have a long way to go till my medical and physical restrictions are answered. I have a long way till the bad is somehow closed and resolved. I definitely still have a while till my growth and finalised decisions of whether I will one day be able to be a mother is answered. Right now, I reassess. Having time away in some place else is somewhat more idyllic in a new environment removed from such closed opinions and detrimental circles of life choices and options leading to obscene opinions.

Positives!

I ask myself. Question. If I am not a mother biologically by no choice of my own, is this the end of the world? If I’m in recovery and that bit heavier, happy then is this really such a terrible thing? If I don’t feel comfortable in one place and need to travel, what the heck is wrong with that?! If I start looking out for myself instead of purposely regarding others continually before my own needs, does this really make me a bad person? No, no and another two ‘no’s,’ Am I actually alright being me and true to myself? Am I doing right in putting my all into living my life the way want – pursuing acting, writing and helping others? Making sure happiness comes first! Am I making the right decision to make myself the healthiest I can be? Will my life be easier the more I focus on these things? Yes, yes and another two ‘yes’.’

The fact, the truest quote and thing that will always be the way I live my life is that ‘life is for living!’ When you have faced mortality right in the chops so much in your life – for me fourteen, eighteen, twenty three, five and then twenty six, well I can tell you that is most definitely five times more than wanted with the added affirmation that I really should be here! I feel like a cat only I don’t wish to risk it anymore to the nine lives. Maybe I’ll stick with the Asian theory and be true to my Chinese birth year and be the horse with five lives instead. Follow the Buddhist theory of focusing on the now and continually look for the beauty and peace in whatever part of the world I’m in, person I come in contact with and experience I  encounter. Life really is beautiful – so I’ll end just with one last request. To all, I tell you, ask you and request that you please just live your life, observe the beauty – experience it, embrace it and look beyond the bad, the ugly and the damn silly idealisms of certain figures within our society. We are all human, we are all the same….we are all the people that make up this beautiful world!

X

 

Days five to seven. Kennedy town, Kowloon Peak, the sun and the ladies.

Days five to seven. Kennedy town, Kowloon Peak, the sun and the ladies.

18/6/16

When you have views like this one, you definitely cannot ignore it The stunning landscape of Kennedy Town harbour, the sunshine and the fact that I was prompted to move my sorry ass out of the flat and into doing something for me that I would like. As anyone does and would have, I’m not really having the greatest of days mentally today. I have been confused, feeling rather unnerved at the time difference to be able to speak to those I need and have failed at being able to forget the events that I have attemped to remove myself from. Now, I’m not saying that I expected this trip to answer what had been going on back at home – not at all. In fact, not even remotely. Just that I really needed to try and figure out what my brain needs to know in order to move forward and help not only myself but others in my life also. Work has been mentally busy recently which don’t get me wrong has been pretty incredible given that I have had to have so long out, but definitely has helped with personal circumstance – especially awaiting the financial gain and living on barely nothing whilst travelling up and down the country. I actually rather needed this break to say the least. Also, the need to reconnect with a very dear friend.

It’s very rare that I actually open up fully to anyone about everything but it’s in situations such as the other night that I find myself working my brain out as well as vocally releasing. A lot of my self-discovery and growth comes from being totally removed.For those who have followed my story previous to now, well you are aware of why a lot of people were hesitant of my last minute ‘fleet’, quite a lot of them rather concerned. However, when you know what it is that you need in order to move forward and not make the same silly-ass mistakes, then you listen to yourself, your heart combined with that of you mind.

 By now, the sun is setting on what has been a day of beauty and further self-discovery. Love, looking and life. Another day as to why I am here ending in relaxation, natural beauty and another side of this magnificent world in which we live. People are so quick to make judgement, hasty remarks and silly, unknown comments about societies and places that they have never even experienced. I am just one of the many who don’t however. Who instead of judging, end up looking. Who instead of hiding, go out and do the finding. Who instead of sitting, feeling as if the world owes me a living, goes out the see what the world actually has to offer and what I can give it back. I speak to people who don’t speak my language but instead, communicate with half-spoken phrases; partly gesticular, partly eye contact and sounds. It’s as I vocalise and gesture the word ‘beautiful’, overlooking the sunset whilst sat next to an elderly Hong Konger gentleman over a cigarette and a can of some sort of drink that we smile that all-so-mutual smile of kindness and knowing. We are simply two very different people, experiencing the same moment but with two totally different lives….he squeezes my hand, smiles, then lets go and continues to sit in silence. and that my friends, to me, is the definition of ‘beautiful!’

20/06/16

I am typically one of those people who over analyses a lot. Today, I went up to the Peak on the tram and am now sitting in the ever so peaceful hub of the Zoological and Botanical gardens which are incredibly tranquil. I watch a little boy playing within this beautiful space, an inordinate kind of ‘ray’ transcending from him and it fills my heart with joy as he runs freely looking a the frogs giving out the loudest sound in the park with their ‘ribbets.’ I watch a beautiful young woman do a three part run through of repetitive yoga exercises and I feel the wonderful, calming vibe flowing from her and to our corner.

I feel safe here, at peace and like I belong. Nothing but calmness and tranquility, nature and natural love. I have ‘me time’ finally and with no one but myself to please. I am happy, I feel content and like I am finally beginning to make strides in my career!

21/06/16

Meetings over here are peculiar. I met at central with a gentleman from the agency over here to pass on some drafts, then we had a follow up meeting over Skype….in the park. Mental! This gentleman is a Buddhist it turns out, he is interested in my story when in actual fact, I would rather hear about his and more about the country. We end up agreeing that I begin a short series of extracts on that of women and how they act and behave with line to motherhood, women’s rights and the comparison of Asian culture Vs Western. I explain my fascination with the fact that mothers don’t appear to have much of a bond with their children due to them being nannied six out of seven days of the week. What struck me on Sunday, was the amount of Phillipeno women who were around Kowloon Park – not just a few, not quite a lot….hundreds!! Sunday is their only day off, so they make the most of getting out – to anywhere! It sounds horrifically sad and I am sure to us Westerners, feels far too strange and abnormal in comparison to our lives. It hits when I was told how a lot of how these ladies have their communities – way of living and that they all bring food, music, games and skills to share with each other as well as prayer and hope. In a sad way, I actually equally find it rather beautiful as reality is, their life now is obviously one that is far better than what they had or have at least come from. To gain this safety and with the personal ability to make the most of their kind of ‘now.’ It’s at times llike these, when I’m sitting and thinking that I begin to realise just how beautiful life really is. I often wonder how people in one place may simply conform to society and also that of their own closed minds. Especially with the undesirability to travel out of their own ‘box.’ I would not be the woman I am now had I now experienced all of the places I have. Nor would these ladies have a better life has they simply stuck to where they lived previous and not taken the brave venture away despite their potential single day off in a  week schedule. I think maybe that’s it really. Opening yourself up, making your own kind of ‘box.’ Living as you and finding out what and from where makes YOU happy!

X

 

Day three and four – Hong Kong park and the day of proper ‘work’…

Day three and four – Hong Kong park and the day of proper ‘work’…

15/06/2016

Five colours – blue, yellow, black, green and red. Guess what they represent?! Oh, that was an indirect question by the way. If we could do Hangman then I’d definitely be up for playing right now. However, as it happens, I’m sat on my own on the eleventh middle step in no other than the Olympic square in Hong Kong park. There’s the mix of birds chirping, crickets clicking and the distinct sound of building work in the background. Madness!

It was funny that when I decided to set out on this trip, I wanted to get away and forget all the things from the last few months back home with some time for me. I just felt it, knew it and most definitely wasn’t wrong in the fact that I needed it! The massive difference in coming away is the fact that I feel; for the first time in a very long time like it’s okay to relax, chill and not worry about a single thing. I can sleep (despite it being incredibly hot) and my body is actually allowing me to as well! Hurrah! I feel so incredibly at peace here, like nobody can disturb me and that the world is allowing me to finally rest – just wonderful!

I could have chosen to have rushed and gone to the Botanical and Zoological gardens but something inside me tells me to sit quietly here. I get asked if I can have a picture with a bride who’s getting married here and I feel like I’m some sort of unbeknownst celebrity! All because of my eyes and how blue they are apparently and the way I dress – I’d simply put on my comfortable baggies and scraped the hair back from my dripping face, so I actually feel quite flattered! I’m obviously one of the only young westerners here…

I still can’t quite believe how lovely everyone is here. SO kind natured, loving and giving. I feel so lucky to be sat here right now – shoes off, hair maybe scraped back but as me, totally and truly me. I feel so safe, like I belong and like I’m just supposed to be here in the moment right now. The rushing of waterfalls, the tweeting of birds, the safety of nature – utter bliss! It’s after I finish writing that I tend to loose my flow, switch off from this peace – worrying about the next. Fact is, I don’t have to, that’s not what life’s about at all – life’s about living, the beauty of right now.

One thing that strikes me about Hong Kong, the thing that I absolutely adore is the equality and joint respect that is given to both men and women. The kind nature of human beings and the feeling of being in a totally different culture but not threatened at all….tonight will be lovely, I will meet new people, reconnect with old friends and sit with strangers. Tonight I will do what I do best with one of the greatest friends in the world and his colleagues all from my past company…Boots.

 

16/06/16

Why am I writing two blog posts on one? I’ll tell you why. Last night as beautiful until I received an unfortunate call before bed, I spent till around 1pm this afternoon asleep and then have just done work for home and applications for acting work that’s come through.

The positive of today? I’m awake and still in my orange space. I speak to my very good friend over in Aus who is now only two hours difference from me – success! Tonight, I go and watch the football with a bunch of people and then I chill. Time to put the bad behind, enjoy the now and keep going. The day will get better, the night even more and tomorrow is a new day….that’s for sure! ^_^

Day 2: Mon Mo temple, Nan Lain Gardens with a little bit of Chi-lin nunnery

Day 2: Mon Mo temple, Nan Lain Gardens with a little bit of Chi-lin nunnery

I can’t quite take in the beauty of this place. The gardens are completely stunning! The contrast of beautiful nature vs that of vast skyscrapers is beyond belief. The echoing of soothing music around is pure bliss as the pottering takes place and I feel a sense of amazement and calmness. I am more than glad that I took the step to go that much further because this really is quite amazing! I’ve talked and spoken in various gambled phrases to the ladies in the glass exhibition, the gentleman at the timber place and can’t quite believe how kind and wonderfully friendly everyone is. It’s fresh, new and just….truly beautiful!

…It was when I came to the building after my walk around Nan Lain gardens to Chi-lin Nunnery that my mind was officially blown. It was the moment my heart; feelings turned from amber to green, ‘okay’ to great! Walking through, there were three women praying and a single gentleman who took his ever so rounded specs off each time and smiled after every worshiping point. I’ve always had this obsession with Asian culture. In fact, I used to make scrap book upon scrap book of projects, pictures and research into Japan, China, Buddhism and the temples, always being drawn to this form of spirituality, calm and peaceful way of living. Just perfect. I’m not religious but if I were and the more I look at the descriptions of what each Buddha stands for, the more I realise that I could quite easily fall into the Buddhist way of living an thinking. The tranquil stillness and intricate yet simple way of being in the ‘now.’ It’s pretty much all of what I am practicing right now. Taking note of the present, not forward or back…just now – giving, loving and listening.

Once back, I finish speaking to my partner and realise that I’ve actually spoken to him much more than usual by being away – is this that weird thing of ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder?’ It’s always been a case of ‘I’ll run away into the distance and forget’ before. It’s as I sit in the bar opposite the MTR station waiting for my good friend Garreth to return from work, that I realise how at home I feel and it’s only my second day – mental! I realise that I have been beyond brave in simply going at these new found adventures alone, not relying on a single soul and haven’t felt half the anxieties that I feel in my hometown. I feel like I belong. That I am part of this ever-so different culture and not judged for how I dress, look, act or behave at all; simply appreciated for who I am and for the fact my single smile projects so many positive energies to other people in this busy city and I feel it too. This is from me, only me.

I’ve always found it funny really how life has presented itself to me when I feel ‘green’ – projecting only the good out and want nothing more back or in return. Opportunity, love, hope and new found gateways come at once. Today, people gave back with that return of a single smile or nod, tonight – an offer of home tuition in Beijing from the single interaction with a little boy and his mother and just now – the over-the-top thanks at my offer of a lighter – again, with no more than this new found kindness in the form of an offer of a cigarette, a beautiful conversation and a new friend who is staying in the same place. It’s days like today that restores my faith in humanity. You see the beauty. Not the hatred, the violence, the judgmental or the absolute utter inhumane acts of terrorism of inequality and utter disgrace to other human beings. It’s on days like today that I realise how easy it is to find peace if you go out only giving and not expecting anything from the world or anyone else. If you give your all to others; love, laugh and smile like another despite the differences in culture and communication the feelings have no words. It’s on days like today that I realise what it’s like to live feeling nothing but happiness and contentment. It on days like today, Tuesday 14th June 2016 that I realise that EVERYONE – no matter who they are, has the ability to make their life something bigger, something better and something that makes them exceptionally proud from simply being themselves.

LMFC ❤

 

Hong Kong: Day 1 – Causeway Bay and Kennedy Town

Hong Kong: Day 1 – Causeway Bay and Kennedy Town

23.15 here in Hong Kong and I’m sat on the marble ledge of the living room window overlooking the harbour view reflecting on my first day. It’s not everyday that you can say you’ve spent your entire day planning your itinerary for what you’re going to be doing in Hong Kong for the next ten days, nor that you’re going to a nunnary in the moro’ to see what women over here stand by and hopefully communicate with them about their lifestyle. Nor is it common that you get to share the tranquil moments in the gardens of temples writing and looking at exceptional architecture. 

Today, I spent the majority of my time in the flat, Garreth; the very good friend that I’m staying with, at work and little ole me…taking it in. After planning such acivities of amazing excitement, I sit and prepare myself for the meeting with Chi Lin from the agency over here and call. We talk, he’s lovely. We share experiences, it’s wonderful. He laughs, I chuckle. He falls into this thoughtful mild state, I sit and wait. He smiles and asks to see pages at random from certain areas of my book. He will call me again this coming week. Great! Step on…complete! I do my emails, fall asleep yet again knowing that my body has finally let me rest now that I’m here and feeling relieved and wait for the return of my friend to tell him of my day. I speak to my partner who’s just woken, we laugh. He laughs. We exchange ‘funnies’, I do some work. Then it’s Din Tai Fung time with Garreth and his colleague for dumplings and they are DELICIOUS! ^_^ Step 1 and 2…..COMPLETE!

One of the biggest battles for myself is to get out and about on my own and disregard my irrational brain and anxiety to push forward and explore. It’s one thing going to auditions and places on your own in the country you were born without really knowing them but to explore in a country so very different to your and one of unknown culture and expectation…even more scary! The definition of such fears I suppose comes from the unknown…’What if I get lost?’ ‘What if I’m in danger?’ ‘Will they like how I dress?’ ‘Am I even dressed appropriately?’ ‘Will I ever come back alive?’ Respectably, everyone has these travelling alone or not and it’s this barrier that once over, will push me to do more in a place so very different. Tomorrow, I plan to get out and discover the world of others, the space, religion, lifestyle and hope that so many of these people hold. Tomorrow will be a point of bravery to get out alone and not just with someone I know. Independent and free like I once was before I fell so poorly. Before I got into recovery and before I decided to go back into my career even more detailed and determined. Will this be my Step 3? Sleep and Day 2 will only but tell?!…..

 

LMFC X