romeo & juliet -Assiatnt directing & a bit of a brain splurge

Last summer i got to assistant direct for/with Walter the new artistic director of HOME which is the new theatre space opening in Manchester a formation between Corner House and the Library Theatre,

It was exciting, it was 6 months ago but I feel I need to update on things,

Quite simply there are very few things better to me than being in a rehearsal room,

There is something that happens when a white educated man speaks people listen, all people tend to listen – even when his choices are from instinct and gut. I loved seeing an artist work from this place in such a free manner, it seems easier if you carry titles no fault of the talented director i worked with. If anything it means his genius is probably more fully realised and isn’t that what we want to see in a piece of theatre?

For years i have felt the responsibility to back my creative instinct & intellect with more intellect, and i mean the intellect that can quote history examples and facts. I think this is because i have been questioned rightly or wrongly in the past for not only my creative choices, but my presence in creative spaces

And you know what…. being in that room reminded me in a glorious way,  that the instinct and gut and intellect that you have has to be enough, that is enough,

For if you have those foundations you will continue to learn and grow your intellect any way…. i hope

I have enough balls figurative speaking and a right  to make those instinctual choices

sometimes I need great theatre spaces to remind me these things, as the challenges don’t stop coming and never do the questioning of a brown girls thoughts it seems:-)


Again its been awhile….

….awhile since I posted any thoughts or observations, but I guess it not a bad thing must mean actually living is taking precedent,

I found a list I wrote back in May about all the things  I could blog about, I thought the list was the most interesting thing on it own…It goes like this, (with a few added thoughts in brief)

“Things To Blog About

DEATH (it doesn’t hold any prisoners)

NOAH (the film because I thought they were having a giggle with the casting, since the only glimpse of dark skin I saw was in the village of the damned but I might be wrong as I blinked in that moment)

UNI POEM ( I was asked  to send in a poem I wrote about how the studentification & gentrification of working class areas with the ‘popping up’. Of how the new buildings are depriving the people who live in council homes…of the basics like green spaces and sunlight. If you know Manchester you know what been done the one patch of grass opposite the post office….that’s testament. I’ve not sent in the poem….not sure if it will actually make any change…)

MY SONS TEETH (….the second set grew quite quick)


JUDGEMENT (The fact we all do it, I just thought it would be good if we could all ask questions and stop being knobs about it all

Primary school kids i’m working with

I’ve always thought Stratford as another world growing up since my family lived in Rusholme next to Main Road, but as a united fan I could done with seeing red more often,
Football is one the many things the children I’m Woking with at a primary in Stretford are into. I haven’t told them my sky is red, we’ve agreed to have a football conversation after we’ve wrote words around rhyme & repetition  based on identity.
The identity the class are working on is the one around being Mancs being in Europe (although I haven’t said this explicitly), it’s their relationship to space and place that’s interesting.
The first session was great as we said hello and all told each where we’ve traveled where our families migrated from and what languages we can speak, whilst pointing on the classroom globe.
The class is learning how to speak Spanish at the moment also about the Roman Empire and for me what’s beautiful to see is that through their education they know they are part of a  world, part of a bigger picture. This is something that thier teacher M. Schofield communicates wonderfully , I have to say that she is a pure quality teacher in this primary school. I’d go back to year 4 if my teacher told me to remember breathing through my nose to help with clarity of thought!
Hopefully we can capture these feelings and thoughts into words for our instillation.

A few days in France

A few month ago now, I went to this place called Nante and what a beautiful place it was, what was a lot nicer was the group I travelled with from the U.K. most of them were from  Liverpool the whole  thing was trip by the British Council to build potential creative links between the North west and that particular area of France. Even though this simple point was a bit hazy to me at the beginning … “so I’m here because…I might find creative links for the future?….” Great!

The thing about Nantes (by no way or means pronounced ‘Nonce’ as I found out on day one), is that the it was a shipping town and when that industry died it looked as if the area would follow suit but it was revived by the arts and that’s what makes this place special, – they have a giant mechanic elephant that roams the city taking people about – could do with one of them in Manchester.

It was a few intense days – those times when a few days feels like a week till you come home only for it to feel as if it was just a flicker of a moment

On the second day of a three day trip- we were taken along the river to a place called Saint Nezaire, the river Loire runs between the two towns and there’s this ‘arts’ trail, with wonderful things – an industrial chimney that looks like a lighthouse with a functioning little house on top, a surrealist  boat melting almost to the water…frozen in the shape of a banana, a skeleton of a snake by the water constantly living and changing with coming and going tides and tiny organisms – lots of things like this… which is interesting and how great that we were funded to make this trip, how great that some people can see all this wonderful explosion of creative thinking!……but I’m left with questions

Who is this ‘art’ for? –  For those who can afford the time and money to stroll along this river? Have the communities that surround these wonderful things been invited to respond or engage with the work in any way? I fear that the answers all sit in the realm of the expected – and it hurts to think that money dictates if people have the space to let their brains breath and imagine or not…

I guess that’s why we were there to think of a way we could work together, ask lots of questions and ‘create’…something… odd looking group of people from the north west, sat together we resembled the odd jigsaw pieces that have been forgotten about found at the bottom of my kids toy box but if you set the pieces out right you see something splendidly different

Trying in a World that’s a Village

So i’m trying o do this blog thing a bit better – there is this inate urge to share sometimes, so whoever is reading ta and I’m trying,

Not only because to try is a simple beautiful and democratic act but because of all the diverse wonderful people and spaces I find myself in,

So on Monday just gone I was invited by a friend who organising the ‘Hargeysa International Book Festiva’ to be present and read some words, and I met a group of Somalis and non-Somalis who support Somaliland (northern part of Somalia – that still hasn’t had international recognition and therefore basically  doesn’t get help or relief),

One of the most amazing things one of the speakers asked for was…. people in the room to raise their hands if they have ever been to Somaliland- now the amount of non- Somalis that raised their hands made be smile. It was amazing that these very posh rich folk had been to a place where my mother and father (God rest his soul) roamed and where a lot of my immediate family,…..They have been to the place where a lot of my immediate family still live, they went to the place where my face comes from and the place where the language I was raised was to speak is from – and I who identifies with British black & white working class struggles from Manchester has never seen the land of parents  – it blew my mind (in a good way)!

Also there was this man called Hamish who I met originally at the Welsh Sennead in 2012 at  a show I did with the National Theatre Wales ,  Now his father worked in Somaliland  taking him there over her years and was practically raised with Somaliland history, culture and ways . He told me how he had inadvertently joined the SNM, he was originally in Somalia as a journalist but then became a fighter– but the great thing about this man is that he has a farm  in Wales where he grows plants and build traditional Somale homes to educate young Somali people in the U.K. about the richness and intelligence of their people. Hoping to inspire.

His knowledge of the Somali culture is deep! He stood there speaking Somalia and telling me about things I didn’t know the Somali words for – again blew my mind and gave me such joy in a beautiful way!

The most wonderful thing happened later- I spoke to a prolific translator,  a man called Atheero (Uncle)  Jamac who knew my late father from the Yemen and all my uncles and Aunts from the Arabian peninsula…..he made me cry


Talking At Talks & An Audition

I went on this panel last Wednesday and it was the most difficult open conversation with an audience that I had had in along time.

It was about refugee and asylum seekers and the arts- being a Somali in the arts I was asked to come along, but I wasn’t honest with the audience – therefore I didn’t feel I communicate my argument with the clarity I like to her when I’m listening

What I didn’t say is that it bugs me that I’m an artist and that I’m not seen simply as that (in situations work environments) , there has to be something, some label, some tag and they all seem to highlight a surface attribute…

You want to be whoever you are, and reserve the right to be what ever you want to be….right?



Had an audition on Friday the conversation seems to flow easier these days,

I don’t sit and wait for the answer I try to crack on, clearing the path since the two  little ones need somewhere secure to walk as they grow. Crack on. Crack on.

trust the path is  made of rubble – no firm smooth rocks to hold

Whatever the answer it doesn’t really matter, because the idea is to crack on either way as before, just as now and in the future – trying to work through love




I’m sat opposite Ro and it nearly a year but now I think I can do this s*#%t x

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