What a ghastly week! The Natural Theatre Company, having lost its Arts Council grant is having to think of ways of ensuring its survival. We want to continue making people laugh all over the world and to encourage young (and sometimes vulnerable) people that comic theatre can give them a new purpose and confidence. We want to carry on providing work for a wide range of talents in what is an unreliable profession. Don’t put your daughter on the stage, the song goes. Well, we’ve put plenty of daughters on the streets…in the nicest possible way of course in the form of our highly entertaining theatrical characters.
Now I’m told that to help make ends meet, starting in January I have to go onto a four day week.
I’ve only had two jobs in my life: mortuary attendant and leading light in the Naturals. Apart from the obvious loss of earnings, which matches almost to the penny my mortgage payments, so goodbye nice flat, hello tent, what the heck am I going to do with my extra day off? Forty two years totally immersed in this amazing company has rather spoilt me for anything else!
I’ve performed in thirty-eight of the seventy-seven countries whose streets and shopping centres the Naturals have graced. I only joined for a week or two. Now, thousands of performances later, with at least a million miles of touring under my belt, I could probably make a living lecturing to Women’s Institutes about my experiences. Or maybe I’ll write that book everyone says I have in me.
Most likely I’ll get a little job filling shelves in a supermarket. Yes, I think I’d like that. My obsessive tidiness will be indulged while at the same time I can have a rest from the endless sorting of costumes and props that currently makes up much of my day. Oh, wait a minute, sorting costumes and props is more or less the same as shelf-filling, but without having to wear an ugly uniform.
You know what, I bet I’ll end up going into work anyway and giving them a free day. Except that the other suggestion to help pay the company’s bills is to rent my office out when I’m not there.
So, shelf filling it is then.