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Rockinpaddy - disability arts online
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Rockinpaddy endeavours to keep grounded whilst caught up in a whirlwind tour with Graeae! / 3 November 2010

photo of the two performers and two musicians on stage performing Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful cast with Gary Robson (left), Nadia Albina and John Kelly (right). Photo credit: Patrick Baldwin

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It’s hard to know where to start with this blog, locked away in my sparse white walled hotel room, with no tv (thrown out the window, rock and roll stylie), no corgi trouser press (dismantled in a moment of boredom) and no complimentary fridge (emptied and out the window with the tv).

Hold on, no it’s not, it’s easy. I’m living the dream singing Ian Dury songs every night as a job!! And I’ve just been facebooked to say Time Out magazine have given Graeae's Reasons To Be Cheerful a four star review and is critics choice, get in!

I’ve been on the road (rehearsing and performing) now for 8 weeks, with a few breaks here and there. We’ve been running the show for the last three weeks, with 10 shows left and I love every minute. There’s honestly not been any down moments or hard times, it’s been a riot! We’ve had sell out shows and raucous crowd participation and I’m hungry for more too.

I’m not saying it’s been all easy, there has been challenges and the odd little panic here and there. It’s been hard work and keeping my nerves at bay has been a full time effort. However the sheer energy that we have collectively created in this little (actually sizeable) family, has whipped us all into an almighty whirlwind when we hit the stage and there is no sign of the winds dying out just yet. The dressing room corridors could be part of the stage for all the music and expletives pumping from room to room, it’s hilarious!

I’ve never had this level of experience for such a sustained period of and beforehand I was worried about my voice and my stamina surviving. Rehearsals were heavy and hard work, but even they were a joy to be part of and definitely a favourite part of my time. The beauty of working with Graeae is that they really work hard to support you, all the shared understanding around access and attitude go as a pre-requisite so you can rightly focus on yer job.

A word of warning in the current economic climate, I experienced the need to really have to argue the case for what was required in getting any “access to work” support. Dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't’s is a full time job in itself and thankfully Graeae helped me through-out the process. I think honestly I probably wouldn’t have got what I needed without that support. I’d have given up and continued struggling with day to day access issues.

I’ve always had the attitude of getting on with it whatever gets in the way, but that Access to Work really is essential to getting on with it. I think the Access to work powers that be, hope that by putting you through the interrogation of detail required will put you off and I reckon it works a lot of the time. Shooting yerself in the foot comes to mind Mr Cameron? Anyhow, I got it, but if your considering going for it, just remember they are putting barbed-wire onto their purse strings!

So for now, I’m going to keep it short and sweet whilst in this whirlwind. I’m living in the moment, every day and show, one at a time. I promise the next blog will be more reflective and calm. I really hope you get a chance to see what I’ve been writing about and if you do, let me know what you think?

Yours, “the ferocious” (Time Out) Rockinpaddy.

Keywords: access issues,disability art,ian dury,performing arts,theatre