BLOG: Finding my feet and #WatchOutFor
Updated: Jan 1, 2019
As a new blogger, I am trying to establish myself, whilst also finding my voice and figuring out what it is I want to say. My recent blog about Arron Hough was incredibly challenging to write. I asked myself, do I have a right to talk about him? Is it too soon? To my relief the response to my blog has been encouraging and supportive. I had friends within the industry say “Nice work with the blog” and that it was “Intelligent and articulate”. Another friend said it was “So beautifully written and sensitive”. Support like this is so reassuring to hear when I am just starting out and trying to find my feet.
A friend asked me “What are you hoping to get out of your blog?”. I said, “That’s just is. I’m not trying to get anything out of it. I hope to influence people in the truest sense. Speaking out about wellbeing in my blog for example, I want to share my experiences to help others. I can’t personally do much about climate change or Brexit but like PTM suggests I can use kindness and compassion to help and better other people, and if I can influence and reach out to people that way, I’d be happy”.
PTM, an affectionate abbreviation for Paul Taylor-Mills a producer I admire, posted recently the advice “Your 2019 one to watch if yourself- Do you, don’t compare yourself and be kind.” It’s good advice, and was evidentially in direct response to controversy this week over several articles posted by Pocket Size Theatre blogger Jay Parsons.
Pocket Size Theatre is a popular blog that was founded in 2012 by performer Jay Parsons. In a post that @PocketSizeBlog has now taken down, Jay compiled his own list of “Faces to look out for in 2019”, the list singled out and profiled thirteen people that they recommend we look out for next year. They explained it as “simply a list we’ve been adding to all year, people who have caught our eye”.
In an eloquent response David O’Reilly tweeted: “Faces to Look out for in 2019. Every single performer who wakes and commits to this unpredictable business we work in. To every performer working or not working right now, YOU MATTER! This business is unforgiving but YOU ALL MATTER! Congratulations to everyone and keep slaying.”
Although I salute O’Reilly’s balanced view and comradery, it certainly raises contention. In any form of acknowledgment or accolade, the few have to be selected over others. Any recipient of any award or nomination has won so over someone else. As even PTM acknowledged in his post, “Thanks for including me and my shows in your end of year nods – I'm here for the celebration.” How can we celebrate and highlight any individual achievements without acknowledging everyone’s fairly?
Contention continued with regards to this list when the issue of race was then brought up. Although, I am sure it was unintentionally Pocket Size Theatre had never the less selected an all-white line up as their “Faces to Look out for in 2019”. One of the first to respond, the Musical Theatre Appreciation Society (@MTAS_Official) called them out by tweeting “Dear Pocket Size Theatre, Is there a seperate list that displays more people of colour? This whole article sound about white. Consider diversifying the team behind your company so this is reflected in your work. Yours truly, 2019”.
Soon to be taking over as Jamie in “Everybody’s Taking About Jamie”, Layton Williams tweeted simply “The caucasity“.
In defiance of the original post, Ryan Carter then triggered a movement with his initial tweet “In response to @PocketSizeBlog’s, I say we make our own list. Use the hashtag #WatchOutFor and tag some Theatre folk that deserve the air time. At the end of today, I’ll compile it into a post and publish it.”
#WatchOutFor began trending, with people posting support and acknowledgment for anyone they admire.
Mark Shenton tweeted “This is a GREAT response to @PocketSizeBlog's #WatchOutFor misstep: a crowd-sourced list of other names to watch, of ALL races, not just white folk.”
Lauren Douglin tweeted “The biggest thing the #WatchOutFor hashtag has shown me is how important it is to love, support and big up your friends and make and support new pals in the process.”
*Since writing this blog, Ryan Carter and Vanessa Fisher have published their own crowd-sourced list of people to #WatchOutFor. It contains some beautiful faces of some beautiful people.
You can read their blog here: https://www.rycacreative.com/blog-post/2018/12/30/i-say-we-start-our-own-a-crowd-sourced-list-of-people-to-watchoutfor