I had ten toes and one has fallen, broken and subsequently been amputated, so I’m currently off work, officially off sick. I’ve been busy crocheting my way back to recovery, matching patterns and playing with colours. Tuesday and Wednesday of last week saw the stitches come out, the big reveal, and my foot has changed, the shape and feel….and it’s a challenge to get your head round, its different, there’s a gap, space but with change I have opportunity, to walk without pain or discomfort, to wear shoes that don’t hurt and to get back on my bike and ride.
So I’m off work and trying not to open emails, but I do (some). I hear echo’s and whispers of projects that continue to grow and impact during my absence, and it feels good (our play about Child Sexual Exploitation (The First Time is Free), along with Rattle Snake and Key Change as they reach out to audiences, communicating and making change during the month of May 2017.
Change is afoot, so to speak. Jill Heslop is leaving us in August of this year, and we’re recruiting. When someone leaves Open Clasp it’s a massive shift for the team, and not unlike my toe, a gap appears and it can feel a little scary. Change can feel like a threat or a risk (and don’t get me wrong when Jill talked to me about the possibility of leaving last year it was a blow, I love working with Jill, she is amazing, has been incredible and I love her head, politics and passion) but with this news came Jill’s desire to do a PhD, and then being awarded this at York University, with the focus being with Open Clasp still, so we lose her in one way but gain in another.
However this still leaves us with a chasm and in this moment you think ‘how do you replace Jill’ well of course you don’t, like my toe, it’s not possible, as when other members of the team have left in the past, like Sally (our first administrator) then Roma (who was with us for 10yrs) – when people leave and others join, we rely on the strong heart of Open Clasp to keep a steady beat. We shift our shape, open our door and embrace change – welcome it, learn and continue to grow. Open Clasp belongs to the North East, I can’t tell you how proud I am of this achievement. We are nationally recognised, owned by the women we have collaborated with, along with the organisations that have fundraised to support access to the theatre created over the past 18 nearly 19 years.
We have great projects coming up. The Space commission will see the company’s work, its process and the products created live streamed across the world. We have Rattle Snake touring in the Autumn, a play that successfully trained 400 police officers in coercive controlling behaviours in domestic abuse back in 2015. Roses is a play in development, and will be touring next year (a real life mother and daughter performing their story, when prison took the mother away from the daughter and their journey to find each other again). SUGAR, which previewed earlier this year will be out again next. Then we have new commissions and plays bubbling, all in need of care as they find their feet.
We have a good and healthy culture in Open Clasp. We are collaborative, passionate and we like to laugh. We are proud and ambitious and we are all looking forward to meeting the next new Creative Producer.
Oh and yes my foot has changed, the shape and feel but my big toe still sparkles with glitter….