Fri 5 Jan, 2024
Inspired by the original Humans of New York, Humans of Shakespeare North Playhouse aims to document as many of the wonderful people who walk through our building each day. Giving a glimpse into who they are and the story they have to share.
“O, had I but followed the arts!’ Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 3
‘I’m a visitor experience assistant and I also run the life drawing class at Shakespeare North. We started the classes in September through the Learning and Engagement team, and we run it once a month. It’s quickly developed into a wholesome group and we’re extending the number of classes we’re doing next year which is exciting! The group has quickly become an artistic community for the area. Most life drawing classes are in Liverpool or Manchester, so it’s great to have a hub in Prescot with a fantastic environment to draw in, which I think has been appreciated.
Everybody can draw and everybody can take pleasure from it. The thing with life drawing is it’s very compulsive because it’s a live model, you’ve got to focus. It almost becomes a meditative space and it’s about the exercise rather than the actual drawings that come out. Our group is a safe environment where people can share what they’ve done and discuss how they’re approaching the work, it’s really interesting.
Listening to the group and the people who’ve been coming along, they’ve all really got a lot out of it. It switches off the chattering mind and that’s very relaxing for most people when you’re able to just sit and look at something. You’ve really got to study the human body, it’s one of the most difficult things to draw because of its proportions and the number of different shapes. But there’s no pressure during the sessions, if you’re not comfortable that’s fine! Even as an artist it’s a challenging environment, but it’s about discovering your own look.
Originally, I started off nursing when I came straight out of school. I love people and I was never going to become an office person, but I started to feel creatively frustrated. I’d always liked drawing and I went back to college as a mature student in my mid to late 20’s. After spending years looking after other people, I felt like I was finally being nourished.
After college I just stuck with my art until I started going in to research. I completed a PHD in fine art, I was just absolutely committed to sticking with the subject. Coincidentally, as part of the humanities department at John Moore’s we’d meet and have shared tutorials groups with different subjects which is where I met one of the Shakespeare North curators Rosemary. She wrote a book about Shakespeare and Prescot and it stuck with me for years.
The minute I heard about this place opening, I was like wow I’ve got to get up there and see what that’s about! I’ve been a visitor experience assistant since the building opened and it’s interesting that not much of the front of house team has changed since the opening. I love the theatre and being able to reflect and see how everyone’s contributions have come together in different ways. There’s something lovely about the atmosphere coming up this hill. There’s something lovely about this placement, which I think is fascinating.’