November 19, 2016
Fighting Dark Ages
A Sheila na Gig
I’m neither British nor American but two democratic results this year have soured my world. Brexit disappointed and upset me. Trump’s election, and his appointment of right-wing old-white-men (largely called Mike) as his closest counsel, downright scares me. Yes, we don’t yet know how it will all pan out – but that there’s pretty scary writing on “the wall”.
Like many, I’m looking for chinks of light. I’m taking comfort in that in challenging times artists often produce their finest work. Many of us have spent this week putting foot to floor, pen to paper, brush to canvas, all with renewed urgent vigour. We cannot let progress stop, or turn back the clock. Artists have a duty. Create, speak out, fight on and do not let us sleepwalk into another dark age. Artist be a soldier.
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
View all posts by suehealy
November 19th, 2016 at 23:51
Hello Sue. I’ve been writing a spec fic series that experiments with a future scenario (set in 2040) that suddenly took a turn toward greater plausibility with the election of Trump. The series, called Inter States, has seen its first book, Fossil Nation, come out in 2015 and the second book, Emergent Disorder, come out this past June. I was deeply involved with Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and the shift from optimism and excitement to the present dread has been unpleasant. I’m currently working on the 3rd book, and will most unfortunately be deriving both material and emotional authenticity from current events. I hope it contributes to the public consciousness in a positive way, although circumstances may end up driving people away from anything reflective or gloomy… at their peril.
November 19th, 2016 at 23:59
Yes, there’s a danger people will get so overwhelmed by what has just happened, they’ll withdraw into themselves. It’s important we do what we do best, and we do it more, and louder and stronger. This all may result in a rallying of the troops, cement and unite the opposition – let’s hope. Keep writing Ralph!
November 20th, 2016 at 00:32
I admit I am discouraged at this moment…but, you are right. Artists must be soldiers, soldiers who speak the truth without violence. (Except the occasional tagging of public buildings.:)) My biggest fear, shared by many others, is that Americans and other people of conscience will become discouraged and turn away from speaking out for justice and equality.
And thank you for this post. It is a reminder to me that two years is long enough away from blogging. It’s time to begin sharing the wonder of writing and art again. Our world needs as much humor and beauty as it can get.
November 25th, 2016 at 15:50
Thank you for this post and for addressing immigrant issues in your sharp and witty radio plays. Through word of mouth I have learned that immigrants working illegally in my neighborhood are harnessing their resources and departing to their native countries in order to avert the trauma of getting kicked out by Donald Trump. This is scary, creepy and sad. It goes against everything our country purportedly stands for. It makes me embarrassed to be an American.