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Clatter O Actors


“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” Helen Keller

To be honest I’ve always been a bit of a DIY girl, and I definitely don’t mean that in the flat-packed Ikea furniture kind of way. I’m talking about the reality of making our own opportunities as artists and continuing to create despite the limited resources and awkward obstacles that may be thrown our paths along the way.

I was lucky. When I was starting out with dreams of being an actress, I fell in with a really great group of very talented people who had just set up a theatre company (Red Lemon). I eagerly jumped on board, filled with a hunger to create and a thirst for learning. Everything was done in house – writing, directing, set, props, production, costume, music. We begged and borrowed from more established theatre companies, rehearsed in our living room (of the house we squatted in), put plays on in random places, went on tour and did it all while supporting ourselves and the company by working in coffee shops and bars. 

This experience and these people taught me a hell of a lot. They became my mentors and my best friends. We didn’t wait around for opportunities to come our way, we created them. I would never have had the balls to do any of this on my own. We all needed each other. We all possessed very different skills and personalities, nurtured each other, fought with each other, laughed, cried and everything in-between. I was very lucky to find them. 

“No man is an island; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” John Donne

Clatter O Actors is a new venture organised by young actress/musician Nuala Davies. The basic idea is that it’s a showcasing opportunity for young and recently signed actors. When i asked why she decided to put this event on, Davies explained; “Being a newcomer to the industry I realised how difficult networking can be, especially when you are working part time along side acting to pay your bread and butter. Having taken part in other showcases I thought it would be really positive to have people my age supporting other people my age. It allows for a positive, creative family of people all working together rather than against one another.” Davies goes on to say that she “hopes that this event can grow become a regular networking event for people working within the creative industries to come together, socialise and be entertained by new and local talent.”

This creative family that Davies talks about is so very important. It’s incredible to see people championing, supporting and working with one another, and luckily in our artistic community here in NI I think it happens more than in most other places I’ve visited, lived and worked. We have so much to learn from one another. Within our own focused areas of work, across artistic mediums and beyond that with people who have totally different interests and skill sets from us. Mutual learning and collaboration can be a massive challenge as artists tend to work alone in isolation, but if we can put our artistic egos and fears aside for a moment we may open ourselves to new creative adventures and find that we can be involved with creating work we never thought possible. 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” Francis Bacon

DIY culture has, of course, been around for a long time. It gives artists a kind of self-sufficiency, independence and control that is sometimes not attainable when signed to a major label or trying to fit in with funding regulations. With these benefits come many difficulties. Money, time, resources and support can be difficult to come by. In this ever changing climate we are learning and transforming all the time. As a creative community we need to get behind passion and enthusiasm and nurture it in one another.  So many people have mentored and helped me over the years and I will be eternally grateful. We must remember the kindness we receive and pass it on in whatever way we can by offering advice, support and time to people of any age who have a dream and a drive to create and become part of our artistic community. 

No matter how romantically we try and look at things (and if you’re me that’s a lot), we are living in uncertain times in the arts here in NI. We keep hearing negative stories about funding cuts and companies and festivals folding. The arts are essential. They are transformative and they bring people together. They can provide a voice and a means of expression for people who struggle to speak otherwise and an escape for those who need it. No matter how difficult it is we must not let our creativity die through frustration or worry. We must use that worry and frustration to to drive us and join us together in convincing the people in power of the benefits of creativity for individuals, communities and the country as a whole. 

Clatter O Actors is one small but important step in the right direction. This night is not about competition between the performers but it’s about coming together to promote one another and celebrate new talent. This is just the beginning. We are blessed with an exciting new generation of creators and performers. Let’s welcome and encourage them every step of the way and give them a reason to stay in Northern Ireland. Throughout it all, as creators, we must create.  Katie Richardson

“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.” Neil Gaiman

Clatter O Actors takes place on Friday, February 6 at 7.30pm in Southbank playhouse. It features the acting talents of Nuala Davies, Sarah Blair, Daniel Corrigan and Rosie Barry. There will be a short acoustic set from Goldie Fawn to end the night.

is the Belfast-based frontwoman of Goldie Fawn.