Supporting and investing in emerging artists is at the heart of what we do here at The Other Room - but at the end of the day, we are only facilitators and gate-keepers of opportunity. The Other Room can only take big risks in emerging artists thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team, the continued backing of our audience and kind support of our investors, donors and supporters.
Today, as we open our most recent production of Hela by Mari Izzard we remember the amazing Violet Burns. I never had the pleasure of meeting Violet, but her story is one that resonates deeply. Violet Burns was born into a working-class family in 1946. Raised in a two-bedroom council house in a small fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. Violet was an aspiring writer that never pursued her passion through a lack of opportunity.
Her story demands me to appreciate how fortunate I have been, and continue to be. Growing up in an old mining town in the Swansea Valley, a career in literature, language and story-telling was never a consideration - but thanks to some inspiring and generous people in my life, I was given the opportunity to work my way over the many hurdles that lay before me. I know the same is true for Mari Izzard - even on the precipice of her inaugural Press Night as a playwright, she asks the all too familiar question - why me?
Imposter syndrome is rife, and its routes are complicated. But today, the memory of the wonderful Violet Burns reminds me that life is too short. I'm reminded that all we can do is work with grit and passion on the opportunities that we are presented with. I'm reminded that if you have a burning desire to tell a story and you are willing to work hard to realise it, then you are already deserving of the opportunity. I'm reminded to embrace it, to savour it and to share it.
Mari, I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure the same is true for the whole TOR team, I am so incredibly proud to have been a part of your journey. Your boundless heart and infectious energy are an inspiration. Hela is everything we look for in a TOR production, bold, ambitions, entertaining and heartfelt. You should be seriously proud of what you have achieved - I know I am.
Finally, I'd like to express my deepest thanks to Violet and her family, specifically her daughter Hayley - a dear friend and supporter of Porter's and The Other Room. We are incredibly proud to have been gifted the honour of keeping the memory of Violet alive. I for one cannot think of a better way to do her justice than by supporting a young female writer to smash through the boundaries ahead of her. In the end, I hope the theatre, cast and creatives have done enough to do you proud.
Diolch o galon.
(Hayley Burns and Mari Izzard)
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