I’m currently in Scotland where the landscape inspired a new song yesterday and another last weekend. I’m also cooking up ideas for a new performance and some music videos – a new departure, as well as continuing to lead workshops and coach online with fabulous collaborators. Top of the list today is finishing the order for the new album and once I have done that, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be making audio teaching files for the songs that will be available as scores very soon.
My Background and Story
I spent my childhood dancing and playing the piano and then went to study theatre and dance. The focus was on creating and devising group theatre, and it was then I wrote my first song.
After college, five of us set up a collective where we tumbled theatre out of the back of a transit van into pubs, schools and village halls. It was a period of continuous collective creation and collaboration. Those years were the most powerful training I ever had and led me to touring Europe with a physical theatre company where I was inspired by meeting other companies who created their own shows from scratch in many forms and languages.
Theatre and Singing
As I loved singing and songwriting, I joined a voice course which led me to the National Theatre Studio. There I ran a weekly voice and body class for actors and took part in many theatre development projects. Through that building I was inspired by some incredible directors and met and made friends with people I still work with today.
While my life splurged into working with other theatre companies, drama schools, choirs and abroad, I was always doing concerts and making shows. I also worked on shows with directors such as Simon McBurney and Katie Mitchell. In the last few years I have started to call them “song-theatre” as all of them have songs at their heart, and yet are theatre, but they are not what we know of as music theatre.
I was inspired by the choreographers Liam Steel and Steven Hoggett and we started collaborating on song cycles based on testimonies. My love of creating through the body, which came from childhood, found its way back into my work thanks to them.
My world is theatre but the core content is song. I was always writing songs and started to record them with Jon Wilkinson, a sound engineer to whom I am deeply grateful as we made ten albums together and he gave me the confidence to put my songs down into audio form. I am still in the process of releasing songs that I recorded with Jon, alongside newer work.
Without collaboration, collaborators and supporters, none of what you find in these pages would have been possible. Great thanks to each and every one.
Hearing King’s College choir sing evensong; devising community theatre; touring physical theatre internationally; being part of the Magdalena Project – an international network of women who create theatre; singing Meredith Monk’s music around Wales with some of her ensemble; three field trips to meet Georgian singers in the Caucuses; singing on the film Troy on the LA Warner lot; growing up with two parents who could speak or read other languages, who were curious and engaged, and who welcomed people from all over the world into our home.
President’s Award from WaterAid
Honorary Fellowship from Dartington College of Arts.