A guest post by our company assistant and all round good egg, Luke Dankoff.
So many of you may not know me, but I am the Roaring Girls company assistant, that means I assist the producer, marketing manager and other departments to make sure that jobs get done, to promote the tour and learn more about the audiences.
Well, this is what was meant to have happened. Instead I am writing this alone in my one bed flat, wrapped up in the existential dread of all the things in my life as an upcoming graduate, like getting a house, getting a full- time job, trying to still be creative. All these things are stressful enough without having a pandemic put on the top.
I was meant to be starting the company assistant role just before the tour was to kick off, having worked with these amazing girls before I was so, (and I cannot overstate this enough) SO excited. It was an opportunity for me to see how a real theatre company runs, be able to be part of something bigger and it was my first step into graduate life whilst still being at uni. But now sitting here writing this I can help but feel unbelievably sad, not just for me but for the girls who were meant to go on the tour, which I know they were so excited for and for my friends who shared three years with me at university.
Summer at the University of Hull for the drama department is such an exciting time, we have mystery tour, where we go to an unknown city for a night out and we have GAFTAS which is the end of year ball for the department two big staples of the year.
Above all I was meant to graduate, the culmination of three years of hard work, to walk across that stage and have my small but personally significant moment, and to have the closure of being able to say goodbye to my friends, many of who will go away to many different parts of the country and continue to get a great job and live amazing lives. But now, it feels anti-climactic and empty.
I would love to say that this experience hasn’t affected me, but it has, I am often anxious about the future and anxious about the present with so many questions running around my head. How will I get a job in the arts if theatres are struggling? How will I get a house when there are so few jobs? Will I have to move home and struggle to get back to Hull? This is a time where I was looking forward to the future, to become a creative, to be able to finally enter the industry I had been studying for three years, but now it fills me with dread. I have found with the countless hours I have had to myself alone with my thoughts, when questions such as these rear their nasty head I sit there incapable of doing anything out of worry and stress, and find myself up in the early hours of the morning trying to find jobs and houses so I can combat these eventually becoming a cycle of stress and anxiety.
But if you are reading this and you find yourself in my position or in a similar position to me, It’s okay to be worried, it’s okay to be anxious during this time, it’s a time of uncertainty and as humans we are all in one respect or another afraid of the uncertain, and it’s okay to feel like this. Just keep your chins up and keep ploughing on through because there will be a light at the end of this mask wearing, socially distanced tunnel. As restrictions begin to become lifted more extensively I am finding that I am adapting to a new normal, to realising that maybe my dreams of jumping into making my own theatre and a career in the theatre may be a little way off yet, but it is a goal that I am setting myself and a goal that I know I will achieve.
I would also like to end this with a message to all creative theatre friends, colleagues and companies. Though it seems bleak right now. We can turn around at the end of this and say, we told you so, because what has everyone been doing in lockdown, consuming different forms of media which is our art, whether it is a TV Drama or a National Theatre Live, whether it is a podcast, or playing games WE did this and we should all be so proud to part of something that has lifted spirits and helped us keep our sense of normality in these times.