Mima’s back!

By Mima Williams, March, 15 2017

Hey I’m back! I am over halfway into my internship and have made a key decision. I have decided I want to be a playwright! It was a surprise to me. It happened in November when I went to the Write To Play sharing in Leeds. Then I knew, I must have a voice. I sat on the train and I told everyone “I want to be a writer!”

I never really thought my writing could be out there. My writing started out back in 2011 and it was my first diary entry. Then I started writing stories about my life and I really enjoyed it. I did it in my spare time because I was doing my A’ levels and it was sort of a break from essays and revision.

In late November, I set up a meeting with Chloe, Graeae’s Literary Manager and she has been guiding me ever since. This was the first time in a long while I wanted to keep working at something. I remember the next morning I had fire in my belly. I am so excited about the learning process.

As part of my internship, I am also undergoing my Silver Arts Award qualification. I am reflecting on my experiences over the last six months: Going to Manchester to see The House of Bernarda Alba, observing production outreach workshops, seeing Her at Half Moon, writing reviews, supporting sessions with our Hackney Youth Theatre half-term project (along with Huddleston Centre and Immediate Theatre) , and I have chosen to write a 10-15 page monologue for my Arts Award Arts Challenge.

I also began researching disabled young adults in education, training and employment. Some of the highlights on my report on disabled young adults in further education and employment the UK (2016-17) include:

  • Disabled people are around three times as likely not to hold any qualifications compared to non-disabled people, and around half as likely to hold a degree-level qualification.
  • 19.2% of working age disabled people do not hold any formal qualification, compared to 6.5% of working age non-disabled people

[Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts-and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures#employment

Disabled people attending drama school is still a very fundamental debate.

Further education for disabled young adults isn’t really talked about in my opinion and is an issue. I am worried for kids and young disabled adults because it’s hard. It’s difficult to find stuff to do. I am shocked how society romanticises life after 19 for a disabled young adult.

After the age of 19, it is not the easiest of tasks for a disabled young adult to go on to further education because of government cuts and barriers to accessing it.

I was worried when I was about 19 because I actually got officially offered a place at  Wolverhampton university, twice in fact  but never got to go because of my social care package fell through. I felt let down by society once more.

I now feel much better and happier because I got my internship. The day I got the email from Jodi it was the happiest morning in ages.

In January I sat in rehearsals for the The House of Bernarda Alba which was awesome, really inspiring as a ‘playwright to-be’!

In conclusion, I really have enjoyed my research into education and deciding to be a playwright which took me down a different path which is very exciting.  I’m really looking forward to the future and seeing how my career develops.

Meet Mima! October, 25 2016

Hey, I’m Jemima, Mimes or Mima. I’m the new Projects Intern here at Graeae on a nine month paid internship. This is my first professional job out in the big, wide adult world. I’m quite impressed I have this opportunity and made myself proud for the first time in a long time!

Discovering Graeae for me was like Harry Potter when he discovered magic and Hogwarts. I had theatre in my blood but hadn’t used it.

How did I get to know about Graeae? It was back in 2013, I was really sad at this point. I was at home because my social care package for independent living fell through. A lot of things that happened that year weren’t that positive. But I had been told about Graeae, so I wheeled in one day, demanding to know about this professional, disabled-led theatre company that was in my neighbourhood! Soon after meeting Jodi at Graeae, I was invited to join the Rollettes, Graeae’s young company, as a Young Artist in Residence for their 2013 Christmas show.  I was very excited. I really enjoyed meeting new people and working with (creative team) Mik Scarlet, Jodi, Laura Dajao and Amit Sharma.

Our first performance was at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE), performing the curtain raiser for TRSE’s pantomime that year. Before the show, I was behind Mik and suddenly I felt sick – I had stage fright for the first time in my life. I told myself, “I don’t think I can do this”. Then, Mik forgot one of his dance moves and we both burst into laughter. And this helped me eventually get over the nerves.

April 2014 came; it would be my first holiday. I was exhausted. But then I was asked to play a part in the pre-show of Graeae’s production of Belonging at the Roundhouse. Brilliant! Jenny Sealey is one of the best Artistic Directors I’ve ever worked with. Being in the show was enjoyable and creative; compared to coursework I had to do over the holidays! Jenny asked for my CV afterwards. I was chuffed!

It was Christmas again and another Rollettes Christmas Show. I made another lot of new friends and enjoyed it thoroughly because we laughed so much and worked together very well.

Now in 2016 I’m looking forward to learning loads on my Internship, becoming more professional, making a name for myself in the disability theatre world and the wider arts field so I could get into the field long term.