Being Jas… By Genevieve Dunne

Genevieve tells us a bit about what it was like to start rehearsals for our upcoming forum theatre tour.  A little insight to the challenges of development!

Having never done a 'one-woman-show' I arrive at my first rehearsal unsure of what to expect. Luckily we are joined by the very lovely Lisa Schulberg, artistic director of Tip of The Iceberg and the morning is spent pleasantly, working our way through the script and finalising ideas for the workshop. I've worked with young people for as long as I can remember, doing workshops and educational tours so this certainly isn't the bit I'm worried about. Nevertheless, when we kick off with a script reading after lunch I enjoy settling into the character of Jas. 

Since that first day, Stuart certainly turned up the pace and intensity of rehearsals, and after my second day of being Jas, I am physically and emotionally drained. I feel a bit of a fraud in fact, having grown up an only child, with the full attention of my doting single mother- how can I identify with such an extraordinary character? But then, I need only draw on my own experience of working in special needs' schools, and supporting friends and family with depression (after all, 1 in 4 of us are affected at some point in our lives), and the world of Jasmine Andrea Knowles, the Young Carer begins to become a reality. I think about the fact that when my mother is old, I know it must inevitably fall to me to take care of her, with no other siblings, relatives who live more than 100 miles away and a rather estranged father. This thought terrifies me, so I can only imagine what it must be like for a five year old, facing that challenge throughout the entirety of her precious childhood. I feel so fortunate to have had such a privileged upbringing and so privileged to be part of a project which aims to really make a difference to Young-Carer awareness, and hopefully, if even indirectly, to the lives of children whose youths have been much harder than my own. Delivering our prototype workshop to a beautifully engaged collection of young people at the Malting's Arts Theatre has given me the confidence and belief that this project is not only fun to perform but wholly worthwhile.