Last night Sudha and I were privileged to have been awarded a First Women Award in the category of Leisure and Tourism. One works and works and I must say these moments of recognition really mean something – Sarah Brown, the patron gave an inspiring opening speech acknowledging women who have been a force for change in their professional lives. And there were so many extraordinary women who have done extraordinary things in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel last night.
In our acceptance speech, we talked about how we felt Tamasha has been a force for change – making interventions into the mainstream – how only ten years ago East is East, a story about a mixed race family growing up in Salford, was a first for the British stage. There was an audible gasp when Sudha told the audience that she was the first non-white actor to be cast in The Archers as Usha Gupta.
It’s moments like these when you feel so reassured that the work we are trying to do has a meaning far beyond our own careers.
Preparing now for first day of rehearsals on Monday for Bilquis Bibi – I never quite know what to do with myself. I look at the script feeling I need to do more preparation – but I hate being over-prepared, I prefer to take from what starts to happen in the rehearsal room – so it always feels like the calm before the storm – the anxiety before the thrill. There will be more online conversations and observations from the rehearsal room so watch this space.