Maxine Lipner interviewed about her professional writing life and how her beliefs were turned upside down by a friend’s uncanny pre-death predictions… For 30 years, Maxine has successfully written features, profiles, interviews and health and business pieces. Combining ghostwriting for doctors with commercial pieces, her fields have been largely scientific and rational. All this changed when Maxine set out to write a memoir entitled Mystic Days in the Ivy: What my Psychic Friend Shared About the Future Beyond Her Own Death. Continue reading SCIENCE, MAGIC & KNOWING THE UNKNOWABLE
I interviewed Lisette Auton, disabled writer, activist, spoken word artist, theatre maker & creative practitioner. Lisette has been chosen as a Penguin RHUK WriteNow Mentee, one of ten out of 1700 applicants. She often works with groups that are underrepresented in the mainstream – for instance with disabled people, and in her work with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art celebrating older people. As guest editor for Disability Arts Online, Lisette used the platform to focus on Northern Emerging Disabled Artists. Lisette says about her spoken word performances: “I deliver passionate, high octane, physical pieces about disability, mental health, politics and quite often also my freckles.” Continue reading LISETTE AUTON DOES STUFF WITH WORDS
I interviewed Bertin Kalimbiro from Goma, in Congo, about Programme d’appui à la résilience et adaptation face au climat (PARAC), the environmental organisation he founded, and the ways his community are coping with climate change.
Leslie: How is the ecological and climate crisis affecting where you live?
Bertin: For more than two decades now we’ve experienced an unprecedented disturbance of the growing seasons. In the past we had the dry season from June to August and then January to February, while the rainy season took up the rest of the months. But now we can’t distinguish these seasons, because most of the year is in drought. Continue reading SAFE FOOD & WATER FOR ALL
I interviewed Alice Boyd who works on improving environmental sustainability in the theatre/entertainment industry though the arts organisation Staging Change. Besides founding and co-directing Staging Change, Alice is also a theatre maker and sound designer with Poltergeist Theatre. She believes in reducing the carbon footprint of performances and bringing people together in a positive, sometimes humorous way, to face the truth about climate breakdown and bio-diversity loss.
The arts is the difference between knowing knowledge and feeling knowledge – Alison Tickell. Continue reading STAGING CHANGE: ECO-THEATRE & FELT KNOWLEDGE
Hayley Sleigh is unusual in embracing the worlds of marketing, creative writing, charitable action and #endthestigma. I asked Hayley about her MA in Creative Writing, her compositional methods, her work with the voluntary sector and her experience of anxiety/depression.
Hayley has helped major corporations with their branding and marketing while raising money for people who are homeless or affected by cancer. She has also had articles published in The Fiction Pool, The Riff Raff, Dear Damsels and Time to Change. Continue reading HAYLEY SLEIGH – MARKETING, CREATIVE WRITING, CHARITY WORK & END THE STIGMA
I interviewed theatre producer Matthew Schmolle, who specialises in producing and staging co-created community performance, new writing, street theatre and agitprop. Matthew has put on shows for his own companies The Working Party and Matthew Schmolle Productions as well as producing projects for The Old Vic, Old Vic New Voices, ice&fire, The Big House, Blackboard Theatre, The Spectators Guild, Finborough, Park Theatre, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Emergency Exit Arts and Apples and Snakes. He also works as a consultant for the charity Open Door, who are fighting to level the playing field in access to training in theatre arts, and for theatre company Not Too Tame. Continue reading MATTHEW SCHMOLLE: CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH THEATRE
I interviewed radical actor, playwright and director Polly Wiseman about her work with her company Fireraisers that produces ‘extraordinary theatre in unexpected places’. Polly uses equal numbers of female and male actors, with the women playing central roles, and often stages her plays in the ‘real world’ at venues suited to the subject matter – for instance in bars, galleries and cinemas. Polly’s work is also multi-media and cross-genre involving live music and choirs, film, sculpture, verbatim accounts and direct audience address.
Leslie: What first led you to choose a career in theatre? How did it begin, grow and develop? Continue reading EXTRAORDINARY THEATRE IN UNEXPECTED PLACES
I interviewed radical author Sue Hampton, about her new collection of short stories, Instead. With titles for adults and children, Sue is a prolific storyteller. Instead is her third collection. It follows Ravelled and Woken, making a total of 29 short stories Sue has brought out with TSL Publications.
Leslie: Firstly, a declaration of interest, as I’m interviewing my wife! Having said that, can I ask you, Sue, what’s the attraction of the short form? Continue reading THE ART OF SHORT STORIES