I was living in a hostel in Marylebone and desperately trying to stay off alcohol. I was attending a lot of meetings. I wasn’t really doing much. I was lonely, missing my son and my partner who was in prison. I had to keep myself busy and active in a productive way. I needed an outlet. I was going to the academy down the road and I wanted to get into some kind of drama group.
I saw Or Am I Alone? at a hostel and thought wow, this is actually really good! I was really drawn to Terry and what she was doing as Joker. I decided I’m going to join these guys and filled out the sign up form. A few weeks after seeing the show Cardboard Citizens phoned me and I started coming to the workshops. My proudest moment was probably singing at the Rough Pearl fundraising dinner in front of Kate Winslet. I also really enjoyed the Forum Training week and the subsequent performance which I found really helpful and uplifting.
Over my time with the company I’ve learnt to accept people a lot more and work with all types of people from all different backgrounds and nationalities. I guess I’ve learnt to be more tolerant and use my sense of humour to deal with situations in a more neutral way. Watching, listening and learning from Terry has taught me how to treat everybody as an individual and an equal so everyone feels included.
I’ve received a lot of support from Cardboard Citizens with the recent suicide of one of our Members. I feel I’m being listened to, that I’m quite respected. I’ve also had a lot of support with my recent housing crisis as well as emotional and practical help with anything I ever needed to talk about.
The fact that we get free tickets to live theatre performances is so brilliant and such a treat. It’s so important for us to be able to see theatre. I’ve got the best of both sides really, there is the performing arts which is fun and a wonderful outlet, but also the support to bring me down to earth and say ‘lets sort out your budgeting and housing situation’ and how to cope with it. You can’t re-house me but you can give me the tools to cope and deal with the ‘real-life’ stuff which a lot of us aren’t really good at.
I have to take each day one day at a time. I’d like to get out of the hostel and get my own place. I’d like to work with animals. I’d like to do a bit more singing, teaching and voice work. I feel like with Cardboard Citizens I have people to talk to.