Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Belona Greenwood
Writer Bel Greenwood reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and poet Leanne Moden. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.
It was a shock. I lost all my arts in education work and income overnight. At first, I pretty much panicked in that I applied for any work, anywhere with a sense of dread that I would end up having to leave behind a creative life I had spent so many years trying to put together. At the same time, suddenly there was a space which I couldn’t negotiate productively. I would have loved to have used the time that opened up before me creatively, but I was too anxious about money. And then I benefitted from an emergency grant from the Arts Council. I was so grateful and promised to use my time well, even as I disinfected everything in sight, even as I limited going out to an early morning gallop with the dog, even as I stressed about my keyworker daughter exposed to the public.
Gradually, my heartbeat slowed, and I began to think and write again – in that gloriously beautiful weather in the first year. I sealed off the world and zoomed. It has made me think of hybrid theatre forms and I have discovered the potential for intimacy, as well as theatre’s wider online reach, but still, a year on the yearning for the energy of live performance is very strong.
I count myself lucky. I was commissioned to write a play with funding put in place before the pandemic. It was a stop start experience for the theatre company – even as auditions, and script read throughs were held and rehearsals began, they were postponed, the project settling into a waiting time as theatres closed and new variants emerged and made being together impossible. I think we learnt patience this year.
There are limitations to not being in the same room. Part of my working life is spent in a writers’ room with two other scriptwriters where we develop television and radio drama. It is a crucible where we hammer out a series, it is so much harder to interrupt each other passionately, the creative energy is missing in action. We adapt but it is not evolution.
It is a year since I have spent time in a school with real, 3D children. Delivering an arts project to six-year-olds for a day in maverick weather this week was brilliant. A real return. But I cannot forget. We all carry a sorrow for the suffering of then and now. I cannot but believe that as artists we are in a fragile peace, we live in uncertainty and with that there is a challenge. Out of chaos comes creation.