As a young child I was known to do, what we called, ‘the bum show’ after my evening bath. This is my earliest memory of performing and such mature behaviour has been thematic of my life ever since! Had I not developed this silliness through involvement with the arts since being that little two-year-old terror, I imagine my life would be very, VERY different…
From attending youth theatres and dance classes, to joining my Nan’s art classes and using my beanie baby collection to stage some very mediocre puppet shows, my experience of the arts growing up undoubtedly played a huge role in forming the obviously highly sophisticated 20something I am today.
Art was a challenge, a confidence builder, a way to connect with and understand others, a way to show myself, and a way to escape. When you’ve grown up with the opportunity to express yourself freely, as I was privileged to, it’s hard to imagine a version of your adult self without the personality and confidence that a connection to the arts gives you. It underpins every aspect of my current life.
Having this role with Theatre31, which allows me to give young people in my home county those opportunities, is incredibly meaningful. So, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll change the subject before I start weeping with pride over the keyboard.
Am I the right person to take on such gigantic responsibilities? Let’s hope so… I mean yes, yes I am! If there is one thing I’m passionate about, it’s working on innovative theatre. I have spent a large portion of my adult life looking for the thing in theatre that I am ‘best at’ or that ‘suits me’ the most, so I can chase some sort of ‘dream career’. Do you know what I have discovered? That I’m very indecisive.
What can I say? I like it all: trying everything, experimenting, playing. Isn’t that the fun of it? My main gripe with theatre has always been the mainstream perception that theatre = West End Musicals, Arthur Miller Plays, or Shakespeare. I love (most of) those things, don’t get me wrong, but for me the most exciting work to watch and be a part of, is much more than that. The best examples have been collaborative, using diverse voices, multiple art forms, experimentation. They are productions with energy.
So, in my decade of existence since leaving the clutches of school and youth theatre, I have explored the diverse world of theatre, through as many avenues as I could find. Professional dance training, choreography, directing, writing, devising, movement direction, musical theatre, performance art, acting, poetry and storytelling. I’ve done a bit of everything, and there is still so much more to learn. Raise your hand if you’re excited *raises hand*.
Throughout this life-long love affair with theatre, I have had the joy of working with people of all ages, experiences and abilities. It has all been amazing and it has all informed my practice. Now, with the voices of an entirely unique generation of post-millennials at my fingertips, I am itching to get stuck in, and create work with the young people of Sheppey and Medway: work they can connect with and feel immensely proud of.
And I’m a local gal, so on a personal level, I reckon it’s about time too!
Lily Vincent-Frankland, Lead Facilitator Theatre31
Want to join our youth theatres or be part of the Young Artist Collective?
DM Lily on: 07859 913 473