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Going fishing is what counts ...





There’s a sweet spot near where I live. I say sweet spot because it’s where loads of locals gravitate towards with their fishing rods, bait boxes and thermos flasks all year round fair weather or foul to land the sweetish catch. The shoreline and the almost disused pier are scattered with young and old hoping to catch a tasty morsel with their lines, hung out as the currents swerve by with the ebb and flow of the tide. It’s a tidal entrance around to inlets and a marina and the waters are a potential swirling fertile playground of fish and marine life, so chances are you might get lucky, if your competing neighbour doesn’t beat you to it! There’s no plan here, though a good rod, bait and skill probably help, but even then it can be random - even in the sweet spot.




I feel a bit like that as a jobbing actor – throwing my line out in the hope a tasty morsel might take my bait and we can reel each other in. But like many of the fishing folk not everyday will feel like a day of a catch. Not every week or even month…




But I realise that it’s okay because the key thing here is that they just love going fishing, they enjoy it and it’s makes them feel connected to something positive and fully alive.  So many days it will feel like the fish have gone to swim in other waters and may have gone completely. But does a fisherman and woman still keep going fishing? They enjoy the wait, keep throwing and reeling in the line, peaceful and often still - in the waiting, knowing that patience, conditions, timing, place, planning and skill can often produce a melting pot – that can pay off. It’s the ‘Going Fishing’ ritual that counts.




Funnily enough I was talking about this yesterday with Jason
His motivating sessions remind me again and again that doing the work as an actor creatively and business-wise won’t always feel connected to nailing rapid results. Because it is the nature of the over saturated industry we work in. It should feel the opposite of that but many times it feels like you are posting into the ‘black hole’ as I call it, never sure if a sign of life will ever blink back!  As long as you try to separate the equation of effort equals instant results or success and realise you should just keep “Going Fishing” anyway, you might just yet end up enjoying your very own ‘catch of the day’.



New Worlds


I’m back from a great working trip to the Antipodes and 8 months solid work since Sept 15. So a returning actress I still am but this time more returned to homebase rather than at the starting line of a reprised career.


I haven’t stopped looking for clues to help me along my way and every little tip is something to treasure to keep the work life/balance on track. I say that because as me, you, any jobbing actor knows while ‘re-launching’ yourself and availability anew at the creative decision-makers, employers and chasing any tit-bit or whisper of a job or opportunity; it NEVER feels like you are doing enough. Or you ARE enough or you can POSITION yourself enough. Or there are HOURS enough …..and of course there’s just SO many of us. This applies to both sides by the way.

Moaning is such a total waste of energy and self-indulgent silliness. Plus I do actually have an audition tomorrow…


More nice edifying Down Under-gained reflections to still munch on…

Dare to kick your shoes off and run on the evening dewed-up grass to work ... maybe you will play with more spring in your step


Know when to toss your surfboard into your car and give the rest of the day a miss...


Stepping into the way of a beautiful natural site is not always a good idea when reaching for what we want – it may spoil the view. Approach with care.



It’s also the last day of May and I have been on a fair few ships, crafts or boats of different kinds the last 2 months. I feel I am now a ship too and I have set my course.

‘Setting the Course’ means opening the sail up to catch the wind, propelling the ship and moving forward in whatever journey you're setting out on. For me – it’s off to see what jobs surface next.

Sky Yoga at Sydney Westfield Tower



I love it that was ship that transported the first English Separatists, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth to the New World in 1620 was called The Mayflower.

Here’s some of my own Mayflowers' from April and May 2016.


The Whitsundays


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park


The Tasman Sea


More Whitsundays


Sydney mangroves


Clovelly Beach


Lavender Bay, Sydney


Milford Sound



I’m a pilgrim actor and I love it that each time we need to find that next job – it can always be the New World again.

How exciting is that?


Remedies for a returning actor

So as I run this returning actor’s race to find my place back in the business, I’m always on the look-out for remedies just to make the path sweeter, zingy-er, clearer and inspiring. Often it feels like you are trying to get on a fairground roundabout – and one you can’t always see - and stay on it.



These are my carousel-propelling Buzz words that Sydney (on tour) has gifted me in the last couple of weeks.


So you often wonder which bus you are on, which bus to even get on and ultimately if the bus is going anywhere at all. But you know what … even if you are on the back of the bus, coming up the rear, it’s great. It’s progress – because you ARE on the bus and the bus is moving. Be grateful you are on a bus at all. 




If you take one of the copious ferries in Sydney harbour over to McMahon’s Point, you see Sydney CBD (Central Business District), the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, many of the wharfs – from the other side. You have this sense of standing outside, fly-on-the-wall – taking in the Bird’s Eye view. It’s good to get out of your head, out of the thick of it, and be an observer – and on the other side. Change up your view. You are reminded things aren’t always about you. Everything has its’ place, everyone has a viewpoint and those views also have value and relevance. It all depends on where you are standing. Those birds know all about this and they are cool with it. We should be cool with it too.




A great late night trip to the flicks to see a new  Aussie film called The Daughter (2015 Dir: Simon Stone). This certainly isn’t a dialogue-lacking film. It’s also not a silent one. But something magical was locked in there. In the landscapes, in the cinematography, in the actors thoughts. It talked to me of a deep and quiet breath. Even if you are animated in your roles as an actor, even if the intensity is suffocating and stifling you feel like your head will explode, you can have powerful inward silent breath that underpins your performance at its core. This is about mining for creative maturity and rooting your work from your secret and sacred space. 




Settle in with a great book, a large iced coffee (with an indulgent dollop of ice cream) and additionally an iced carrot cake. Give yourself a break. Recognise a list can be finished, before another one begins. Otherwise the list will never leave you alone as it will always get longer, rather than shorter. So take a break -  a) when you can b) when the moment dawns upon you it’s actually here (ie don’t miss it) and finally c) celebrate lavishly without any calorific guilt and in style.


Acting at 39,000 feet

At an altitude of 39,000 feet with a ground speed of 590 mph and arrival in Sydney in 4.05 hours I am flying between the Exmouth and Wallaby Plateaux. How do I know this? … because the flat TV screen embedded into the aircraft seat in front of me tells me so.

It also means that in the time I have flown leg 1 to Abu Dhabi and the leg 2 to New South Wales; I have managed to creatively consume 2 Oscar winning movies: The Revenant, Carol, the stunning documentary Listen To Me Marlon and a French language drama Le Sac de Farine (The Bag of Flour) set in Belgium and Morocco.


It's always such a treat to watch great seasoned screen actors like Leonardo DeCaprio and Cate Blanchett and boy do the supporting actors give them a run for their money too - Tom Hardy and Rooney Mara. However, the one that cracked my heart was 7-year-old actress Rania Mellouli.


Her soulful honesty, vulnerability but determined core was breathtaking and touching. She really told us – in no uncertain terms - her costly story in Le Sac De Farine where she was whisked without warning from the austere but safe confines of the Belgium convent school to the Atlas Mountains where classes consisted only of knitting, cooking and taking the daily bread dough to the local bakers oven.


As a middle-aged returning actress with a huge creative appetite to work – and one that comes from a decade and a half away from something you now KNOW you want to work at for the rest of your life - I love it that it is as my ‘maturer’ self, starting over that is so attracted to the acting of a small child. One I most want to learn from. Simple, truthful, not over thought or pushed, just real. Innocent, liberated, un-censored.


Ironically it was also a message from Marlon Brando, himself, also scooped up on my UK to Sydney flight 'screen-feast' and lifted from Listen to me Marlon that continues this theme… He said: “We develop the technique of acting from an early age when we are a child...when we throw our oatmeal on the floor - we are trying to get our mother's attention. Acting is surviving.”


So here I am reflecting on all this ... child-like wonder and determination, survival, needing to tell a story, my story, in the context of now 2.5 years back in my originating industry after an 18-year break. Likely viewed as one caster told me - as an 'experienced' newcomer'. Yes, it feels like I am definitely that. And I am seeking to find my place, throw my own essence of oatmeal on the floor, and yes not over think or push it all too.


I am coming to Sydney with a very successful UK show that is opening Sydney Theatre Company’s autumn season. And - I am understudying, walking understudying. Ironically, half way round the world to sit, ever ready, ever wired, ever reliable and particularly hungry ... in a dressing room for 5 weeks.


Is that what I hoped for? Is that what I aspire to? Is understudying so tough ... especially on a great gig? Is it something I can learn from?


Bottom line. Hard core facts - I am working. I am trusted to deliver. I am very fortunate to be paid - and well - to come all the way to the Southern hemisphere as an actor, gainfully employed (after a relatively short while back in the business) and to part of a company in a hot ticket UK show. And - let's not forget - to one of the most desirable global cities on the planet.


Returning actress - yes? Returned actress - you bet. And one thing is sure I am hunkered down and ready to go ...


More documented blogging adventures on the strategies of my ‘oatmeal throwing‘ to come ...

March 2016

Listen to my radio interview on Salford City Radio's 'Be My Guest' show from Thursday March 10 at 7pm on my REELS page - named 'Interview - salford city radio'

February 2016

I am currently part of the UK & Sydney 2015/16 touring company of the award-winning Almeida Theatre’s production KING CHARLES III written
by Mike Bartlett.