It has always been a dream of mine to have my own theatre company, that utilises the unique experiences of those with first hand knowledge of the criminal justice system, to take Forum Theatre (interactive theatre) to the masses. Thanks to this AMAZEBALLS team a dream is coming true – whoop whoop…!!
Back when I was 17, over 30 years ago (NOOOOO WAY…!! I hear you saying, that means you’re… 😊) I started using drama to encourage those who for whatever reason, found themselves on the wrong side of the law, to challenge themselves to become involved in something pro-social. That was my first taste of realising the positive impact that drama can have.
Originally from the UK, I wore many different working hats. I was an actor, a youth worker, a housing support worker, drama tutor, pre-release course tutor for juvenile prisoners, resettlement worker for prisoners, drug treatment services manager in prisons, all of which enriched my skills and experience to be the best version of me.
Fast forward a few years and here I am - I blumming love Aotearoa and feel extremely privileged and proud to call this country my home. And there’s no getting rid of me now because as soon as I was eligible, I became a citizen – whoop whoop…!!
The Happy You…!! Theatre Company was born at Otago Corrections Facility where the then prison director, Jack Harrison, agreed to me using drama as a tool for change with the men in their care. It’s grown arms and legs since then and I blumming love it, I love all our performances, I love the commitment, dedication and vulnerability of the team, I love our audiences, I love witnessing the epiphanies of the actors and the audience and I love seeing people genuinely moved by our actors’ abilities as well as their honesty and bravery.
As I’m writing this, I have the biggest smile slapped across my face that matches the smile in my heart. The fruition of the Happy You…!! Theatre Company genuinely means the absolute world to me and I can’t thank this wee team enough for jumping on this waka with me.