Somehow, my first year of the PhD is over! Since time became meaningless somewhere around March 2020 I suppose it shouldn't be such a shock, but it's hard to believe I'm 1/3rd of the way through full-time doctoral study. However, I've not been totally idle:
I conducted the first phase of interviews with six women, who were generous, sensitive and frequently hilarious in sharing their experiences with me. I tried very hard to repay those qualities in the making of my work-in-progress show, First Bite. This was the product of a week-long R&D (research and development) at the Barbican's Pit Theatre, an incredible opportunity I shared with my doctoral colleague Anna-Helena McLean, and was supported in by the ever wonderful Chaz Webb. The experience of inhabiting a theatre space again almost a year to the day that I last performed pre-pandemic, was something I'll never forget. Everyone was buoyed by the sheer joy of being allowed to be there, and the atmosphere at the sharing was electric. I hasten to add that the sharing was primarily for the benefit of cameras; only essential staff were present and all was done with strict adherence to the COVID rules then in place. It took some time to get back into my body and voice, and trying to flex some comedic muscles with no audience was particularly challenging, but I'm very proud of the outcome and I'm looking forward to sharing it further down the line.
Since that exhilarating week in March, I've been reflecting, analysing and sharing some of my responses. I was very excited to have papers accepted by two conferences, and although the Zoom-presenting experience is rather surreal, talking to your own face and PowerPoint and hoping you're not just on in the background while someone makes their tea, I found the experience of preparing for and sharing at both events hugely rewarding, providing useful angles to consider my work from and engaging discussions that are already prompting the next steps. I'm really excited about the challenges ahead; I'm about to embark on writing up my literature review and developing more new work to share in September (more on that below!)
On Monday 5th July, we had an end-of-year symposium, sharing and celebrating all the work of the doctoral cohort from the almost-ended year. As you can see from this picture, my presentation was very formal.
I took the ten minutes allotted as a challenge, as that's pretty close to the average length of a GP consultation in the UK; how can I tell you absolutely everything in ten minutes only?
It was such a joy to hear about everyone's amazing work, and to put 3D bodies to Zoom-box faces. So now it's the summer, time to rest, relax, and write an eight thousand word literature review and a new show. And I'd better get on with it because....
I'm doing a live show! With an actual, real life, live audience! I'm so excited to be sharing a short scratch of my PhD research at Camden People's Theatre on 20th September, alongside some other incredible acts. So if you fancy it, you can book a ticket here: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/big-bang-20th-september/