Over the years I’ve had many different hobbies. As a kid I was in the Brownies and Girl Guides and did the odd bit of horse riding, but it was in the last two years of school that I discovered I really enjoyed doing drama.
I chose to study the subject almost on a whim. I’d always loved doing the annual Christmas play when I was at primary school and each year I would come away from my family visit to the pantomime wishing that I could have a go too. So, while I was choosing my exam options I decided that I would choose to do something purely for the enjoyment, as well as some of the things that would help me start a career in the media.
As it turned out, I did well in the subject, far better than I ever could have hoped. All the plays and performances that my class I put on in our drama studio I would try and do without either my walking frame or my wheelchair because there was no stage as such, just a flat, open plan floor. I’d hold on to walls and my classmates where I needed to, but for the most part, I could cope.
I decided that I’d carry this on a university and joined the Drama Society within the first week of term. I was nervous at first meeting new people. In fact, I almost chickened out and didn’t go to the first meeting because I couldn’t get there on my own and was too shy to ask if someone would be able to help me. In the end after some encouragement from others around me I made the call and was so very glad that I did because it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done.
Everyone was far more hepful than I could have ever asked for, walking me to and from the meetings, socials and rehearsals. When I performed in plays I used my walking frame and a wheelchair and that was never a problem. I did my bit as Lady Barcknell in our performance of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde from my wheelchair but stood up at the end of the show. Most of the other parts I played standing up in walker and I even got to take part in a panto like I’d always wanted to do as a child.
If I was too busy to devote enough time to actually be in the shows themselves I found that I could still help out taking tickets on the door and selling refreshments so there was always something that I could do within the society one way or another.
Many of the people I met throughout my three years as a member of the group will probably never realise how much their friendship and support meant to me, and still does. They helped me in more ways than I think they could ever realise. I learned a lot from joining the society including that I should never let the Cerebral Palsy be an excuse for me not trying something new. If I don’t do it because I’m nervous or scared that would be different, but I would have missed out on so many friends and so many memories. From now on I’m going to try and be less self-conscious about the help I need, although I know that sometimes that is a lot easier said than done.