Sunshine Blogger Awards

The Sunshine Blogger Award highlights how great the blogging community on social media is – it celebrates people who use their blogs to spread happiness, inspire positivity and work hard.

I am delighted to be nominated by Becky. Thanks so much! Becky blogs as Musical Theatre Lives In Me and I really enjoy her work. Follow her at musicaltheatrelivesinmesite.wordpress.com.

Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blogging site(s)

Answer their questions.

Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

Notify the nominees about it.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your own post.

Becky’s questions:

Where did your love for theatre start? Was it a live experience or a movie musical?

I’ve always liked plays and musicals.  The first show I can recall seeing live was Our Gracie, at Oldham Coliseum, with Polly Hemingway in the lead. We went with school when I was about twelve, in the mid-80s; soon after I started attending theatre with my auntie or my mum, then eventually on my own in London and Stratford. 

We were lucky at that time to have many classic movie musicals shown regularly on TV (on our four channels!), and theatre was very much a part of TV, with the last few Play for Todays, and the Performance season into the 1990s.  I also did my GCSE and A level in English Literature which gave me a love for Shakespeare, Beckett, O’Casey, Caryl Churchill, and many other playwrights. 

One of my favourite books is the Heath Introduction to Drama, which I acquired in the 1990s and which has the full text of plays like ‘night, Mother, Mister Harold and the Boys, Fences, Bent, and many more which I read before I saw them.  Oh, and radio plays – although these days I have got out of the habit of following those.

Why did you decide to start blogging/vlogging?

I’ve always written.  I had poems published from 1989 onwards, my first academic article in 2000, and many reviews on IMDb through the 1990s. 

My blogging journey began on LiveJournal, then Blogger, and eventually WordPress.  I had two blogs, one personal and one professional, but the latter has now closed.  My reviews blog recently celebrated its seventh anniversary.

How do you share your work?

Until this year via Twitter (@loureviewsblog) and my Facebook page (facebook.com/loureviews).  Recently I have linked my Pinterest and YouTube spaces with my blog, started sharing to LinkedIn, and this week I joined Instagram. 

I have also joined a number of blogging groups and now have my blog listed on the UK Bloggers list and on londontheatre1.com, and participate in Feedspot.  I write film reviews on letterboxd.com which sometimes link back and forwards to the blog. Occasionally other bloggers and even venues/shows share my posts, which is nice. 

I changed the URL of my blog this year and have tried to link all my social spaces to it, with the same photograph (of me – eek!), etc.

What came first? A love for writing (blogging or vlogging) or a love for theatre?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write.  I wrote a novella based on the classic film The Seventh Veil when I was about six (I’m sure, looking back, it was dreadful).  So the two fit together, but I now love blogging and sharing my thoughts.  It’s a logical progression in many ways from the old Deja News/Google Groups message boards, in which I used to be very active.

Do you have a favourite theatre? Just the building, not the show inside it.

The Grand Theatre, Leeds.  There is something about the architecture of the place which inspires me.  I lived in Leeds for twelve years so saw a lot of good shows though, and before their renovation around twelve years ago there was an open day which allowed me to explore backstage, the pit, the stage, the flies, and so on, which was even more fun.

Do you find that talking to other bloggers helps you with your own work?

I’m rather shy and socially awkward, so talking and networking face to face is not easy for me; however online is a godsend and I find the community as a whole very supportive and helpful. 

I know we are all finding our own niche and evolving in subtly different ways, but I don’t sense any resentment out there, which is something I find very attractive in the blogging world.

Why do you think theatre is such a good inspiration for blogging/vlogging?

It’s creative, and one creative medium inevitably inspires another. I find it interesting though that some professional critics and performers view bloggers as a “fan” community rather than peers within the same industry. 

I think given time the lines will blur, especially with vlogging (something I’d love to try), and that blogging may well become an inspiration for writers bringing work to the stage.

Is theatre your niche, or do you talk about other things as well?

Theatre is the main thing, but also film (classic and modern), archive television, books, local interest, exhibitions, concerts, and mental health (where it is relevant).

Has blogging led you down a new path for your future, or is it just a hobby?

I had to give up my day job as a librarian after twenty-five years last December because my mental health could no longer withstand a regular commitment or the pressures of a senior role in the business; I’d been very active in the field and so it was not an easy decision. 

I see blogging as a potential way forward to help me continue in my recovery, as well as (maybe) a small money-earner in the future.  But right now I am concentrating on producing posts that appeal to other people, making connections in a more professional manner, and gaining the support and trust of PR people who can work with me to get my blog to its next stage.  So it was a hobby, but now it isn’t.

Do you have a favourite type of music to listen you whilst you write, or do you prefer another source of background noise?

I like silence, or I have Judge Judy on the television.  White noise!  I do like all sorts of music, but rarely have it on when I am writing.

Here’s the tricky one!  Do you have a favourite show?

That is a hard question!  A show becomes a favourite when it gives me a reaction I wasn’t expecting, an emotional connection, or something I didn’t expect.  Every production of a play or musical is different, and every production of a particular show is different. 

I’m trying to think of my first “wow” moment in the theatre; I know what it was in the cinema, but I’m struggling to pin-point one theatre experience. 

So I am going to cheat and say the ballet Romeo and Juliet, with music by Prokofiev, and choreographed by Kenneth McMillan.  I’ve seen it live in two different productions and have four versions on DVD.  If you haven’t seen it and get a chance to, do go.

My nominees:

All these are worth a look and a follow, in my opinion. And all are active on Twitter etc.

Shanine Salmon

ianVisits

Thom Hickey – The Immortal Jukebox

Jaime Rebanal – Cinema From The Spectrum

Tab’s Theatre Thoughts

Sadie Takes The Stage

Lindsey D – The Motion Pictures

Thrill Me Chill Me Reads

Kim – Theatre Reviews

Rosie Rockets

Talk Stagey to Me

My questions for the nominees (if you’re up for joining in!):

What does blogging mean to you?

Do you feel you have a defined style of blogging that immediately identifies you?

What has been your proudest moment?

Do you like to collaborate with other bloggers and creatives?

What’s been your most successful social media platform?

If someone asked you to describe your blog to them, what would you say?

Which post has given you the most pleasure to write?

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Is blogging something which you could do without?

What’s your opinion on sponsored posts?

And finally … we all know how hard it is to give a name to our projects! How did hou come up with the name for your blog?

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About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, editor, creative. Blogger since 2011. View all posts by Louise Penn

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