Popping in…

Hi everyone! I know it’s been such a long tine since I’ve posted in this blog – quite a few things have happened.

I’ve received my PhD qualification – a labour of love, fear and doubt! I’m so relieved that I was able to complete it. It’s definitely a marathon rather than a sprint, and if anything it tested my resolve and commitment to a long project.

Where I am now, though, is interesting. After 30 years, I know myself well enough to know my shortcomings and frustrations. My biggest gripe with myself is the inability to sit in one place for a long time – figuratively and literally. It’s another reason why I’m so proud that I managed to finish the PhD in the first place.

I write plays – and then poetry – and then games. I feel like I’m spreading myself thin in many precarious avenues – and of course, self doubt gets to me. I did my PhD in playwriting, right? Surely I should stay and write more plays, produce more, keep going on building up my theatre company. I think about it everyday. I haven’t done a single production this year – and it’s what people ask me about, which is of course understandable. It’s a financial issue and a creative one – but I really do want to get back into it.

Even with poetry, I’ve been on and off for this. I did one open mic this year as opposed to a lot more last year, including a one person show. There is a reason for this. I’ve mentioned on some of my social media about my mental health and how, since 14, has been a roller coaster of sorts. I was hit particularly hard the end of last year and into 2017 – it was hard for me to think clearly, to get out of bed, to get out of this numbness and guilt. What was strange about this year particularly was a feeling of disassociation – one time I left the house, I felt as though I couldn’t feel embodied or grounded in a physical space. It scared me so much, but doing daily yoga and meditation has really helped with that.

So I went back to coding, something I did when I was younger. This feeling of sense of self and embodiment fascinated me throughout my PhD research, which drew me to VR and then AR. Since then, I’ve been learning to code – creating my own novels with an interactive AR layer. It’s a marriage of physical and digital – which I’ve found so interesting and it’s really helped me to find some sort of direction.

I feel a little unbalanced, however. I want to find some way of marrying all of these elements together. I feel bad for neglecting Stars or Mars and increasingly, my poetry. I also remember wanting to create a new initiative called Bards to the Future: a collaboration between Futurists and Artists, which I feel I’ve failed to do anything with as well. I feel ideologically and financially (very much this) stretched – this with my mental health dips have left me with very little self efficacy, and with that, self esteem. To be honest, that’s why I haven’t performed or delivered a paper for a while. I just don’t want to revert to my past self, who was terrified of doing such things, and I don’t want to erase all the effort I put into being able to do this. I love doing it.

I feel as though I haven’t caught up with so many people that I’ve wanted to, which adds to the guilt.

So what do I do now? I’m still working on my games at http://www.criticallitgames.co.uk. Now, I want to try something that incorporates all of these things together. Theatre, Poetry, Novels, AR, Games. I had such an idea walking home last night – which I need to work on and draw a structure from this. An issue that I had with my plays (and theatre in general) is mobility. The physical live nature of theatre makes it fleeting – which makes it precious but also any energy generated from this interaction fades out very quickly. Can AR, gaming and live streaming be able to prolong the conversation of issues raised in theatre? Can the impact be stretched temporally and in terms of audience?

I’ll get back to you with that.

I just want to thank everyone for their support and willingness to listen. Much love x

 

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Updates and New Site!

Hi everyone,

Huge apologies for the radio silence!

I can’t believe I started this blog just when I was starting my PhD – over three years ago. So many amazing things have happened since then – I’m still trying to process a lot of it!

I haven’t abandoned this blog entirely – but I have started a blog devoted mainly to my Spoken Word that deals with Science News and Science Fiction. However, it seems to be assimilating this one, but let’s see how it goes. CLICK HERE to check the blog.

See you soon!

Suzie x

News and Updates!

With the unfortunate news that we couldn’t stage Cuckoos and Chrysalides in April, I have some exciting announcements that I will list here and on the Stars or Mars website!

June is going to be a pretty heavy month for me, that’s for sure.

1st June:
logoWe are taking the stage at the Hackney Attic with our show called RESPAWN! The play follows two identities trying to find peace with their pasts and present, which has been drastically changed through the process of uploading consciousnesses. Can they prove that immortality doesn’t have to be a hard sell?

I will be giving talks at the Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015 in Liverpool, talking about the portrayal of Time in Science Fiction Theatre, as well as the Being Non/Human conference in London and Smashing the Stigma of Science Fiction Theatre at the SFRA conference in Stony Brook. Miraculously none of these dates clashed, taking place on the 8th, 17th and the 25th-27th respectively.

sum-front-coverSUM will also be returning this year, but at the Camden Fringe from the 28th-30th August! Very excited about this! I’ll give you more updates as they arrive.

Speak soon!

New Play in April 2015!

CuckoosandChrysalidesApologies again for the delayed post!

I’ve been busy in the rehearsal room and at various coffee tables around London, working on plays and my thesis recently. I’m very proud to say that Cuckoos and Chrysalides is in its full reincarnation at the Bread and Roses Theatre very soon – in fact, from the 7th-11th April!

Check out the site here:

http://www.cuckoostheplay.co.uk

The synopsis is:

Cuckoos and Chrysalides depicts the story of a woman who is preserving her children to the time she feels right by uploading them.

Her mother is helping her against the social backlash as the space to upload is becoming contested by many sources.

Who will get the space and who is in control?

What is particularly noteworthy about Cuckoos is that I directed a fragment of the play a couple of years ago, and seeing how it will be interpreted as a full length play in contrast will be interesting to say the least! Each scene releases part of the plot in a pressure cooker esque way, so I’m excited to see how the audience will react!

Updates, Imposter Syndrome and Yugi-Oh

So I went to my first conference abroad – Stage the Future 2 (the first organised by Chris Callow Jr. and myself in London in 2014), and it was truly a memorable experience. It stood out particularly for me since it was set this year in Arizona – where I’ve been in different stages of my life – and now my present(ish) stage had met them and joined in this assemblage. I would never have imagined myself giving a talk at the University here years ago – and I’m so thrilled to have had the opportunity.

Whilst I’ll be writing up more of a travel tour guide, there’s something I wanted to discuss about a specific phenomenon and how I’m slowly changing in regards to it. Like jetlag, some people get it and some don’t at all. Most likely it’s on a spectrum of intensities, like plenty of things.

Strangely enough, I was struck with the thought this morning (still adjusting to the jetlag of 7 hours difference) of imposter syndrome. I shouldn’t be here, I don’t know enough, etc. etc.

Yes, I’ve had an enormous academic chip on my shoulder for quite some time. Since this is my PhD/writing blog, it made sense to me to write these feelings down and see how I’ve changed in my ever-increasing years as a postgrad.

It’s not uncommon, I presume. However, I was told in my high school years that University was a realm way outside of my league – an elusive palace for the elite, and I was not academic enough to attend. Not in those words exactly, but the gist can be found in there.

However, I did ignore them and studied English with Creative Writing, which had been (and still is, of course) the greatest passion of mine since I was 6. Even though later on I would take to reading science textbooks and programming manuals amongst my story books a few years later, creative writing was always my first love.

When I started my PhD, however, my rashes of inadequacy flared up again.

The title, for one, can be intimidating. To claim your original argument in no doubt an extensively large body of work is not one to be sniffed at. We can claim to be good at things, or even an expert, but once that “title” is authorised, that tower can quickly come down.

I still have imposter syndrome, of course. It’s not that I’ve gotten over it. It’s just that I’ve learnt to handle it better.

The key is always to ask questions. It doesn’t stop – and shouldn’t, I imagine, after you receive your doctorate. The important thing to remember is that the body of work is just that – a body. An organic creation that is always growing, shedding, and changing. You have to listen to its thoughts and feelings like you do for whose you “follow” on social media. No one can claim to know it all, and that’s exciting.

My imposter syndrome came in the form of, what they call in Yugi-Oh, defence mode. I would worry that people were trying to catch me out with things, so I wouldn’t be so forthcoming. Believe me, some people will be – it’s just a matter of knowing what rule book they’re playing from.

The important thing is not to be afraid to ask questions, follow up discussions, to keep in contact – people generally seem to like informing and helping people. They’ll probably find it flattering that you came to them. This is very true of myself.

Nearing the End of 2014…

And it’s about time that I update the blog! 2014 has been such an exciting year – writing, performing, producing and presenting – and I’ve met so many amazing people who have wowed me with their hard work ethics, friendliness and creative brilliance.

Conferences

This was the year of the first SF Theatre conference – Stage the Future! We had performances, papers, discussions and more. You can read reports here and here. I want to thank all those who took part and attended, as well as those who supported us throughout. Also big thanks to Christos Callow Jr. for being a great co-organiser!

I also had the pleasure of presenting SF Theatre things to Lincoln twice this year – one as part of the Performing Science Conference (just before Stage the Future actually!) and the What Happens Next conference. Not a conference, but had a great talk at the Equity North/East Branch in Dec this year – discussing the pros and cons of staging SF on stage. They were a great audience, full of ideas and enthusiasm! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spread the word far and wide!

Performances

Performances have been crazy for me this year: Terra Firma was performed as a rehearsed reading in Feb, then as part of a fully produced play at the Camden Fringe in August. Both took place at the Etcetera Theatre, who were very accommodating indeed. Thank you to Ryan Watson, Alice Havilyn, Natalie Boakye, James Unsworth, Christos Callow Jr., Barra Collins, Rus Kallan, Jessen Aroonachellum, Paul Valentine, Eleanor Russo, Briony Wyatt, Sarah Bauer and Judith Georgi.

The Reality Test was a short play of mine that was produced as part of the Writers Bloc Night “CAGED”. I managed to do a few rehearsals before I had to leave for both conferences, leaving the production afterwards in the very capable hands of Jack Heath and Alice Havilyn, who did a great performance on the night – thank you so much!

Notes from Other Worlds was published and performed! Thanks go to Playdead Press for making my 20 year + dream a reality – nothing beat the moment when I saw my book in Foyles. Incredible! The SF monologue book has been a long project for me on and off, and it was all so so worth it. Thanks also go to Jessen Aroonachellum, Briony Wyatt, Judith Georgi, Eleanor Russo, Paul Valentine and Eva Mi Becker for their readings. SUM was my last run of performances in the year, which included my own performance – which I was extremely nervous about! I’ve always wanted to act in one of my SF plays and the cast and crew made the experience so comfortable, fun and challenging (in a good way!). Thanks go to Christos Callow Jr., Melanie Crossey, Lydia Kay, Briony Wyatt, Eleanor Russo and Lucy Harrison for her amazing composition and overall managerial skills! It’s such an honour to act amongst such talented people – especially Melanie, whom I shared most of my scenes with. I couldn’t have found a better Syne! Videos will hopefully come soon.

Publications

Notes from Other Worlds and SUM were published this year, which I’m ecstatic about! notes_from_other_worlds_front_coversum-front-cover

Aren’t they beautiful? You can read more about them here. I also have a small play published at Amazing Stories, one that inspired the writing of SUM. The original idea was a posthuman version of Susan Glaspell’s (great name) Trifles. So an amazing year all round – I couldn’t have done any of it if it weren’t for these amazing people in my life. I’m incredibly blessed.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and see you all in 2015! xxx

Updates!

I’m delighted to announce some autumnal updates!

1) Notes from Other Worlds – Reading at Creative Centre for Collaborative Collaboration

IMG_20140821_122230

I’m having a reading to celebrate my first published book, Notes from Other Worlds (you can see my fingers oddly coiled in the polished sheen of the cover) at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross on 29th September, 7:30-9:00pm. It’s free, there’s wine and books. What could be better?

The Link for more info on the book can be found here.

2) Sum – Bread and Roses Theatre 

SUMimageFB

Sum, a new play of mine, is being staged at the Bread and Roses Theatre from the 27th-29th November and the 4th-6th December – focusing on new societies created from the pilot of a hivemind technology. Odd fact – the image is actually a painting of mine 🙂

I’m actually whipping up a separate site for this, along with notes and ideas, so you can have a peek if you want!

Tickets are already on sale! Have a look here.

3) Interview with Female Arts

If you’d like to know a little more about both of these projects plus a little more, check out my interview with Female Arts where I discussed them in a little more detail. They are a great initiative that promote female involvement in the arts (they also reviewed Terra Firma for us!).

The link is here.

Thanks!