During the past twelve months it would appear I have woken up from my post-baby coma and remembered that in a previous life, before Dubai took me over, I used to have a hobby – a passion, even. Theatre has been part of my life since I was born – in fact some would argue before that, as courtesy of my mother, I appeared onstage as a can-canning foetus. Through the years I have veered between performing onstage and working behind the scenes. My tweens and teens were spent in several musical theatre companies, one of which gifted me the best friends I still have today. In my early twenties I switched to backstage, graduating in Technical Theatre Arts from drama school and becoming a stage carpenter and stage manager before being gradually lured away to the more lucrative corporate world of conference and events and eventually abandoning theatre altogether. My late twenties saw a musical theatre revival as I once again returned to tread the boards, and I was privileged to perform at such wonderful places as the magical Minack open air theatre in Cornwall. And then we moved to Dubai, and after several failed attempts in the early days to find anything remotely resembling a group of like minded people, I forgot all about it.
After my son turned one and my brain had stopped leaking little grey cells out of my ears, I wanted to find something to do for myself, and theatre once again became part of my life. This time, in the absence of a musical theatre group in Dubai, I turned to straight drama and enrolled in a course to flex my acting muscles for the first time. And I love it. It’s so different from musical theatre, of course, that I can hardly believe it’s related, but all the years of performing and training and watching the professionals at work have obviously sunk in enough that I would appear to be fairly competent at it. Who would have guessed I could be a drama queen? (Cue shock from family and friends).
So, unashamedly, I am plugging the play I am about to appear in, because I am hoping there are a few Dubai readers out there that might be curious enough to come along and watch.
I can wholeheartedly say that it is one of the best things to have happened to me in Dubai, to have met people who are all the same as me in one sense, but so different in others. To mix with men as well as women of all ages in contrast to my usual ‘female aged 30-45′ dominated world. To meet real characters who are interesting and fun to get to know – a little bit oddball and artsy and the kind of people I can feel comfortable around, and truly be myself. To rediscover a love and a talent that was lost and to finally find somewhere I can belong (oddly, given the nature of the beast, without judgement). And it has challenged me – on stage and off – in a way that coffee mornings and gym sessions do not and cannot.
If there are any actual or potential trailing spouses out there reading this, I can only say that finding something to be passionate about could well be the key to being happy and fulfilled away from home. It’s only taken me five and a half flippin’ years to work this out, of course.
Buy a ticket.