A couple of Tuesdays ago, I had the pleasure of travelling back in time! Impressive ha?
I got to spend a whole hour with my good friend and room-mate, Laura Mugridge on her tour of ‘Running On Air.’ For the past 5 months, Laura (or Lol as I know her) who is a comedian and storyteller, has toured the UK with her one woman show written in collaboration with husband Tom. I am so proud of them both for their dedication to what they do and their commitment to their chosen art forms. And through another lovely coincidence the show was produced by another very good friend of mine, the very talented, Rick Watts, theatre producer. We met at sixth form college back in 1997!
Laura and I both studied Drama at Hull University and as two girls from the North West we were deemed compatible and paired up to share our huge room in Cranbrook Ave. The huge room was in some ways an illusion as somehow 10 students were crammed into our reasonably sized house in windy East Yorkshire. It became our refuge when the house seemed busy. If you read Laura’s most recent blog entry you will see she likes to make ‘nests’. I would say our room had the Mugridge treatment for sure, and soon we had both decorated our halves of the room with posters, photographs, free postcards, fairy lights etc!!
Looking back now, I was glad to be moving away from home but probably terrified in equal measure, I can see now that it was a really special time because I felt safe sharing a room with Lol. So, fast forward 12 years…here I was, a couple of Tuesdays ago, in the safety and comfort of Laura’s campervan Joni! I felt proud and also a bit smug that I was the only audience member (one of 5 seated inside the van) who had already had the pleasure of many an hours audience with her!
Not only was Laura’s delivery gently hilarious, it was also very heartfelt and she talked about the difficulties presented to those individuals who choose a career in the arts. Being torn between life at home and work – needing to work but missing being with loved ones on cold winter’s nights…
I think that if you are an artist and are lucky enough to be able to sustain the lifestyle you are suited to (working and supporting yourself whilst being able to work as an artist) then bingo – you’ve hit the jackpot, but the reality is that it is, in most cases, difficult, without personal sacrifices in some way. Can you really have your cake and eat it? Often it’s not hard to find the work and opportunities, but to be paid for them (or paid well) is a different story.
Voluntary, unpaid, or low pay work is a great way to gain experience but can’t be sustained if you need to pay bills!
For me, having been Laura’s roommate at Hull University, the show was particularly inspiring. I felt connected to her experience over the last year. Here I was, in Laura’s portable home, her ‘tortoise’, able to spend time with her once again. She made me feel that I should carry on with my ‘dream’ of becoming an illustrator and encouraged me to stick to my guns, painting the subjects that are dear to my heart, for an audience who want to see them.
Good luck with the French leg of the tour Laura and Tom! Bonne Chance!!!