I did the set-building for ‘Sawdust’, and done a little bit of ushering as well and going to the shows. First of all I was going to classes, then I got a set design traineeship on Sawdust.
On the traineeship, I was working with Nomi. We were doing the backboard, and platform at the top. And stairs at the back, which was hard with all the angles. Nomi showed me how to do power tools and that. Once I finished one thing, Nomi put me straight onto the next thing! I put in 216 screws I think!
The part I most enjoyed was making the 6 little apple crates, for the model box. I make things for my model railway – level crossings, little crossing gates, all just made out of pieces of plastic and recycled stuff. I made small apple crates for my model railway too – which were even smaller.
So I made the apple crates for Sawdust at home. It took about 2 and a half weeks to do. They were very very very small! I made them out of hardboard and little strips of card to make them look like they were made of planks. That was the hardest bit, trying to stick them on there. Then I painted them. I felt real satisfaction when they were finished. I don’t like stopping and starting, stopping and starting – I like it when it’s complete.
I did the questions and answers session [after one of the performances of the play]. It was the first time I stood out in front of an audience, you know, and I enjoyed it. And spoke about what things I have done. I was a little bit nervous at first, but then I got into it and the nerves was just gone.
I felt it was really helpful for me as well. For my self-esteem. More confidence. It changed me a lot; coming out of my shell a bit more. I always felt shy, go to the back, you know. Back into my shell.
I felt part of a family, as they say. Even though I was doing set-design and that, all the other actors and that were all friendly and every time I came in in the morning they all said “good morning Tony how are you?” and some of them hugged me and said “hello Tony”, you know, cos they were all pleased to see me. On my last day I broke down in tears, me more than anyone else… it was my last day. And I wanted to stay on and do more with the team.
After Sawdust, I started doing carpentry and went on and started making my own bird tables and bird boxes – I put them on the outside of my wall, or the flat where I am now.
And now, I want to get into acting. I’ve done acting before. I feel ready now definitely. I just sort of, love doing it. You can act as someone else not yourself. I thought I would have a go.
And I started the creative writing classes. I didn’t used to like writing until I started - I used to just throw things together. Next term I hope to do a bit more. I wrote up a script for the Gatehouse people; I have done script 1 so far. I am in middle of script 2. I will act in that sometime next year.
The Arts team and Crisis team have helped me through my bad times and I thought well they given me something, so I want to give them something back. So I do ushering too. When you have got a play on in the theatre, you usher people in, make sure they sit in the right place and remember the fire exits. I have done 1 shift but would like to do more. You get to know members of the public, welcome them into the theatre. It is something I haven’t done before – I felt really excited! I like making sure the audience is enjoying the show. When they come out, I say “did you enjoy the show”. I chat with them when they don’t know where to get the tickets, or get confused. I felt I cheered them up, and what made them more happy is I had my Christmas jumper on and it flashes!
I felt more confident because I was ushering. I felt very proud, very proud doing ushering for the first time. Next term I want to do more.
Coming here has changed me from how I was to how I am now. I have become more sort of helpful and… I was really down and depressed, but once I started coming to Crisis and doing things for the Arts it has picked me up... a lot! I have met new friends, I have met new friends in this building. And I have changed things for other people too – especially in some of the classes I do. Before I started going into the classes the people looked a bit bored you know. Now I am there it sort of picked up, they see me and… and as they say I have a nice smiling face.