Winter sojourn at Tyn-ny-Pant, Builth Wells, Wales thanks to veteran playwright Donald Howarth.
Socially, politically that was a stinker of a year. Selfishly, I have to say that professionally, for me, it was kind of groovy. I had an arts council funded without decor production of my stage play, “Brazen Strap” at the King’s Head Theatre, Islington. A play of mine was workshopped at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. I was a finalist for the Nick Darke Award, the Eamon Keane Award and the Old Vic 12 and was granted a Peggy Ramsay bursary to fund my writing. I had my bi-lingual radio play “Blue King” produced and broadcast in Ireland. I was awarded a two week stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre for artists in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. I upgraded on my PhD and I got to spend time in the Loire Valley and Paris. I was promoted to Deputy Literary Manager at the Finborough, and attended a Criterion Theatre course in comedy writing. All of the above brought me into closer and new contact with interesting, talented and inspirational people.
Of course, every year brings its challenges and meeting them with grace is sometimes a challenge in itself! However, I think I’m doing alright – I’ve nurtured my friendships and I think I was there for friends and family when they needed me. So, I leave 2016 feeling good personally, if rather worried about the shape of things to come internationally.
I wouldn’t have achieved anything last year if I had not applied to all sorts of schemes and programmes, competitions and awards, theatres and theatre companies, media houses and arts bodies. It’s important to keep on keeping on. Put your work out there. Be tenacious. Make a plan and if it fails, make another.
Here’s hoping that 2017 will bring many good things, and the strength to deal with what look like bad things, with grace and optimism.