Bry and I are so proud that our latest project, Fib has received funding from Arts Council England. Hearing an initial draft of Fib out loud today was really special. Bryony and I have been working together, on and off, making theatre since 2012. Over the last nine years there have been many changes for both of us and most recently I have had a baby. Finn is now 13 months and full of beans. It has been a challenging time to have a baby and childcare has been a minefield. My partner and I don’t have family near by, and other than some close friends who have kindly helped us out when we are desperate, it has felt very challenging. I am aware many people have it a lot worse than we do. Our society desperately needs to address the challenges of childcare and find better solutions to support families. (However that is for a separate blog!)
Bry and I have always said we would try to make theatre making and having children both possible. So today was our first attempt at that. As Finns Dad worked in the attic, and I logged onto Zoom in our kitchen, Finn prepped himself for the first read through. He did this by emptying the pan drawer onto the kitchen floor.
As I entered our Zoom meeting I was met by our wonderful team for Fib. I took a deep breath in hope I could manage to still be professional with a 13 month old toddling around. A mum and a theatre maker and professional…Finn had other ideas! Finn was not up for sharing his mum this morning with a load of smiley faces on the laptop screen. I introduced us as best I could, with a baby climbing all over me and reaching out to touch the faces on the screen. As I talked to the cast and production team I noticed something was moving in my Zoom picture, when I looked down I was met by a whisk repeatedly hitting me on the arm. I smiled at the mop of blond hair and blue eyes desperately trying to get my attention. I had the horrible feeling of being split between my work and my child.
After playing a warm up game in teams we cracked on with the read through. Finn napped soon after that and I could focus on my work, left feeling a little disheartened that including Finn was harder than I thought it would be. However I had to remind myself this was the first time and we will get better at it, because we have to. Bry reminded me it is always worse for the parent than it is for the people around. I hope she’s right.
The team on board for Fib are amazing and we are delighted to have found such talented playful creatives. The actors brought the script to life beautifully and it was really useful to hear it out loud highlighting the bits that worked and the areas that need to be developed. By the end of the read through I was so proud that we had managed, in this mad time, to begin such an exciting project.
Bry and Sara have done a super job on the script so far, and Mark Thomas’s music is a wonderfully rich material to use and play with to help tell this story. I am very excited to get us all in a room together and start to create what, I am sure, will be a brilliant piece of gig theatre.
By Kim Burnett 01/03/2021
Co-Founder of KimBo Theatre
Co-Director of Fib R&D