What I do in my spare time.....when I can

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I am a member of Shallal Dance Theatre group - here is a link to us and our website. We are in Cornwall.

I am not in any of the photos on here, as I never seem to be in Shallal when they get taken! I have been a member for over 8 yrs, but come in and out as my health allows. I have ME/CFS and Jo who is Creative Director of Shallal is great at understanding that sometimes I can't make it, or can only come for an hour of the 3 hr rehearsal, and will do what I can. I've just had 18 mths out of the group actually, but rejoined again in Sept. and did perform briefly in a local museum in Dec.

It's a wonderful group, and Jo has been running it for over 20 years. It began as a group for people with learning disabilities, but over the years has expanded for people of disability or none, though most of us do have some kind of disability.

I have performed on stage in the past on lots of occasions, doing mostly dance, and reading poems that I have written. Mostly the performances are done by improvisation, done over and over, until we have a structure, not to be remembered precisely but as something to help us along. This is because it would be impossible to work in any other way for those with learning disability, but is also a wondrous thing as each performance is new and fresh. I used to think it was a miracle that the whole thing got pulled together when the dress rehearsal might be a mess, but each time indeed this miracle occurred.

As I am ageing I find I cannot do what I could do when I started, (dodgy knees especially), but there is always something made possible by Jo's approach to dance. Sometimes it has had lots of funding, and more recently just funding for specific projects, or run on a shoestring. Actually we have just received some more funding but I had better not put it on here yet as it's not on the website, but it's pretty exciting!