Preparing for change

The big news12 Weeks 01

This is my first blog post. I have been meaning to start writing in longer form than the 140 characters afforded by twitter but hadn’t settled on a voice.

Why start now? Well, as a woman of 32 working in Theatre, I have been considering how life would work if I were to have a baby. I am now expecting my first child in October and I’ve decided to track my observations and experiences.

Before becoming pregnant, I had the chance to talk to other women in a similar line of work who have seemed to make it work and will continue to rely on their advanced wisdom (and encouragment) as I go along, I’m sure.

But for now I’d like to share the first reactions from my colleages. I am delighted to say that they were all unreservedly excited and supportive: both at Knifedge, the studio where I work (though not as an employee it must be said i.e. they won’t be paying me any Maternity leave!) and among both female and male the Theatrical creative teams with whom I work. I have been quick to reassure them that I plan to return to some level of work within 3-6 momnths of giving birth but at this stage, who knows how it will all pan out!

The decision

After 3.5 years of happy marriage, Tom (my husband) and I had discussed when would be a good time to start trying probably once every 6 months and had decided that we’d wait another 6.

In fact the way it happened, we planned to start trying just after we had concieved so the issue was forced somewhat in the end. And I’m glad. Let’s just say, there’s never a good time with shows on the horizon 6-12 months ahead!

I have been lucky enough to have had a very busy past three years working in projection design for Theatre with a steep learning curve so maybe now is a good time to take stock and hone my theories and practices to come back a more considered and deliberate creative force.

The first twelve weeks

… have been manageable, thankfully. I have been working on the Phantom Of The Opera UK tour in Plymouth, which has meant being exiled there for 5 weeks. I kept a lid on my nausea, my cardigan wrapped around the early signs (mostly bloat), cut caffeine despite being deathly tired at times and all the other stimulants I’m used to relying on when I’m on a show (alcohol, smokes, chocolate) and arranged my doctors appointments around brief trips back to London.

I felt I should tell my programmer so that he was aware if anything should happen and I eventually shared the news with the designer, with whom I have a good friendship, and the lighting designer, who has been through it all before with her own pregnancies and children.

My overriding desire for that time was to curl up in a ball in my pyjamas and go to sleep but of course this wasn’t going to happen and it’s a tough thing to have to keep a secret, especially while people are talking about future projects, so I am relieved that it’s ‘out’ now – and that I’m back in London!

I noticed that Improbable / D&D Satelite are hosting an event on working in Theatre as a parent in a few weeks, which is very timely so I might head over to that, all things being well with the show at that stage.

Next show: The Flying Dutchman at the ENO then La Boheme at WNO, taking me through to 1st June.  I should remain small enough to fit behind the production desk by then and I plan to keep working until the end of August. It feels good to have those shows lined up and a few things in the offing for summer.

Better make it count if I’ll be off the scene for a few months! Lord knows how many new ‘Projection design graduates’ will have emerged by the time I’m back. With any luck, the relationships I have built and the level at which I have been lucky enough to work up until now should stand me in good stead.

Watch this space…

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