I am a freelance arts journalist and critic; most recently for Theatre and Performance magazine as their 'Comedy Guru', and reviewing in the West End.
My decision to take to the Internet and social media to celebrate the Arts has evolved gradually through a life lived within it. I was born the daughter of a theatre producer and actress, alongside an anti- theatre, wonderfully creative brother who ironically is also a journalist in a very different field. I grew up surrounded by actors, directors and producers and in my younger years, did not realise what it all meant. I could never have imagined how the people around me back then would, in time, come to be the figures I respect most in my adulthood!
I went to The Arts Educational School, Tring Park for the early part of my secondary school experience, moving Ardingly College for examinations. Despite being a more conventional scholastic experience, the school had an outstanding Drama department both in teaching and facilities. Having trained at Guildford School of Acting, I then fell into stage management, working in the West End on some terrific productions; including "Richard III" for the Royal Shakespeare Company, with Robert Lindsay wearing the crown, and "Hayfever", both on tour at the Savoy Theatre, starring the late Geraldine McEwan.
At this point a desire to educate myself further on Theatre as an art form, in a more academic sense, reared its head. I embarked on a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway University, leading eventually to a PGCE in Secondary Drama from Central School of Speech and Drama, and 8 straight years as a Drama teacher.
This brings me almost up to date. In my youth I was confined to very traditional theatre, brought up within 'the institution' so to speak. I remember being asked when I was 21, what job I would take if I hadn't loved the theatre… I literally didn't know what else was on offer, and really didn't care! Clearly I am in the right place. That feeling of not having explored any other professional field could also be applied to the limited types of theatre I had been exposed to in my youth, and I think through my theatre degree; I began to rebel and explore all types of theatre. There was so much to choose from! This led me to consider the Arts within a wider landscape; theatre, cabaret, comedy and dance. It was then I realised how much harder you initially have to work as a punter to find out about the Arts outside of the heavily publicised West End productions.
I founded Define Arts, and have committed two years full time to establishing the site and connecting with theatre companies, directors and theatre goers alike, with the aim of finding a way to reflect on the arts and entertainment in as broader way as possible. I hope through reviews, interviews and reflection to encourage audiences to explore lesser known forms; persuade theatre goers who haven't experienced comedy, dance and more unusual types of theatre to give it a go; to see fans of one art form start enjoying another!
As I embark on a second trip to the Edinburgh Festival, with a new job as Head of Drama from September, I still believe there is so much to be learnt about life; and culture is a vital part of this education. This being the case, Define Arts will continue to flourish alongside my job. Looking at life through one medium can only streamline your experiences, leaving you clueless about aspects of human nature you're less familiar with. Experience culture in all its forms, take risks and keep an open mind... Let the Arts lead you on an exciting and vibrant journey.