May 18, 2023 Edge


Find out more about the upcoming show all about outdoor swimming, community and holding each other…

So, first things first, why the title ‘SWIM’?

It actually came to me in a dream (naff right?) and there were 4 of us standing on the stage in swim caps chatting ‘swim swim’! which is part of the reason I first developed this show with 4 of us in…but when I actually sat down and wrote the show for the current touring version, SWIM was capitalised because it became a desperate instruction I felt my friend woke each day with in order to be able to cope with her grief, so I wanted the title to be obvious and strong.

Can you tell us a little more about your experiences growing up in the Lake District?

It was a special place to grow up in and I owe my love for nature and all things outdoors to it. I am grateful my parents were keen walkers and explorers of the mountains and lakes, and that most of my holidays were walking from YHA to YHA! 

I am in fact writing a new show now however about how challenging the school which I went to was, due to how remote we were and the lack of opportunity to do the arts or anything very different to farming, working at the nuclear power factory or not being able to engage in different cultures much. So it swings in roundabouts. I definitely got my love for open-water swimming from my childhood though, as there wasn’t an awful lot else to do!

How have you navigated the more theatrical elements of the production with the true tale it is based on?

It’s always hard to tell a story about a group of other people when you are performing solo, but I have a live musician on stage with me and projections which help build the world of swimming, the lives of those I talk about and the emotional shifts. This allows me to work through them and with them rather than work too hard at keeping the audience’s attention. When I talk of swimming, I talk of how we felt in the water rather than imitate swimming; when I move forward or backward in time, I have worked with a great movement director who has helped add fluidity to the way I am on the stage to help audiences know that this is a memory or this is now, without having to explain too much. The show navigates its way through a series of events and is linked by our swims together, my friend and I.

What themes can audiences expect from the production?

The biggest and heaviest is grief and more specifically child loss. But it is also a story of hope and community and living with grief, all centred around the love for open water swimming.

What advice would you give to a novice looking to get into the world of swimming?

Generally build your body up to the temperature changes gradually, not do any daft jumping in because someone tells you to, and to enjoy it sensibly! also, you don’t need to go buying all the gear! a swimming costume in the summer is fine to start out with gently and then by winter see if you like it and want to invest in a second-hand wetsuit (we don’t need any more neoprene in the world for new gear!)

Check out my website where there is loads of swimming advice:

Thursday 15th & Friday 16th June 2023, 7:30 PM


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