Like most people, March 2020 turned my life upside down. I’m a freelance performer and was buzzing with excitement for what this year had offered me. I was about to go work on a BIG feature film, in my first stunt role and had a theatre commission that was literally the stuff of my dreams to work on when I returned.
I’ll never forget walking down the corridor with my suitcase packed, about to travel to my hotel for a job that had the potential to change my life. Then I received ‘that’ phone call; production had been forced to stop due to concerns about the virus. I received that phone call a lot over the next few weeks, one by one all my work was cancelled, until the national lockdown started and I was instructed to shield.
Determined not to lose all the momentum my career had gained, I made lots of plans. I was going to teach my circus classes on zoom, hone all my skills, and upgrade all my costumes. I was going to emerge from this stronger and more marketable than ever. Then I received a more sinister version of that phone call. My hospital appointments were also cancelled, including the pain management treatment I was heavily reliant on to be able to live my life. Plans all dwindled into nothingness as I became capable of less and less. I was removed from my work, my training, my friends and everything that felt like made me, me.
Then Home Is Where the Art Is started and offered me a lifeline. I was reconnected to my passion and a group of my peers who have become some of my closest friends. We were given access to all manner of works and we spoke candidly about what we engaged with and what we didn’t. Really looking at what landed with different members of our group and what didn’t and why gave me my inspiration back. I was filled with ideas and learnt lots of new things I could apply to my own practise.
The group naturally evolved to not only enjoying and discussing other artists work, to developing and discussing our own. We helped each other navigate the pivot from in person to digital events, we shared opportunity’s and helped each other write pitches.
Access was at the heart of the group and when access is an integral part of a project from the start, not an after thought, it comes easily. It wasn’t until I had this experience of access always being there, I realised how exhausting it was constantly needing to ask for adjustments, perpetually weighing up whether it was worth it or whether I should just stay quiet for fear of being labelled ‘difficult.’
I now have some very exciting commissions in development and have expanded my practise to include stand-up comedy. Without HOME keeping me creatively engaged and building my confidence back when I’d almost completely lost it, I think I would be in a very different position to what I am today.
Porcelain Delaney is an Irish theatre maker based in Manchester. She works across multiple art forms including: writing, acting, circus performance and sideshow. Porcelain is one of Graeae’s ‘Beyond’ Artists.
Her cabaret acts have headlined all over the world in many shows such as: Cirque Le Soir Dubai, Reykjavik Kabarett and Le Wunder Kabarett Paris. Her monologue ‘But aren’t you a dancer’ is being published in Indivisable Anthology and her play ‘Breeding Machine’ was longlisted by The Royal Court.
Visit Home’s project page to find out more about Home is Where the Art Is.