From a two-year hiatus to Emerging Writer's Group

10 Jun 2019

From a two-year hiatus to Emerging Writer's Group

Alumni Jordyn, has landed a position in the Emerging Writer's Group and shares her experience whilst applying.

 

We caught up with Jordyn to get insight into the Emerging Writer's Group.

When did you find out about the Emerging Writer's Group and decide to apply?

I found out about the program after researching into different emerging artist initiatives in Sydney. I was personally coming off a two-year hiatus from my creative career, and I felt like the hardest part was knowing where to begin and what the first step should be. The lesson I've learned from this, is that the best pathway is to simply show up. I'll be honest in saying I didn't think much would come of the application, at best I thought it would look good for when I applied in the following year. I never would have dreamed  Sydney Theatre Company would be the only company that reached out to me. Lesson learned?

What was the application process like?

Through a lack of expectation, I wasn't all that bound to presenting what I thought I should be. I took a lot of liberties and basically told them that with or without them, I would find a way to get my work on stage. Truth.

Part of the application was including writing samples, luckily I had a couple of first drafts laying around that I could structure together. Though, putting your writing out there is a vulnerable and exposing process. It's scary. I get terrified every time I do it. It is a muscle, however, and the more I started doing it, the more freeing it became. Due to my anxiety making me annoyingly meticulous, I did put a lot of effort into the application,  

I clicked send, felt a small spark of anxiety, and then buried myself back in writing, and rehearsal, and other boring adult stuff.

How and when did you find out that you were accepted and how did it feel?

There was about a month of silence after I applied, I almost forgot I even did it, until I received the email saying that Polly Rowe wanted to meet up with me the following Monday. And boy, let me tell you I thought I blew that interview. To be fair, it was one of those universal everything-go-wrong days, but it was essentially forty minutes of my rambling nonsense. Getting shortlisted for a spot in EWG despite all the competition was a big deal, and I fumbled under the pressure of it. I walked away embarrassed, but glad I had the experience. That afternoon, she requested a draft of one of my full works to consult with Kip, and I sent it, still not thinking it would repair anything.

Then exactly a week from the interview, I got the call saying I had been offered a spot. I was immediately overwhelmed, and excited, and almost asked if she'd called the wrong number. Two days later, I did the photoshoot at Roslyn Packer and got to be involved in the Patrick White Playwrights Award and Fellowship. I would also like to take a moment to gush about Nakkiah Lui's win and what it means for Australian theatre. Yas queen, slay. 

It still hasn't hit me yet, but check in with me in a couple of months, and it just might. 

What does this program mean for a career?

The Emerging Writer's Group was one of the first initiatives Kip Williams brought to STC when he took over as Creative Director, and though this is only the second group they have taken on, it has done wonders for bridging the gap between young voices and the people with the microphones.

What it means for my career is that I'm in the space. I'm in the room with some of Sydney theatre's best and brightest, but I'm not ignorant to the fact that my work has just begun. The next step for me is to soak up the experience, to keep showing up and being bold and brave, and of course to develop as an artist. This feels like the first step.

What advice would you have for anyone thinking of studying acting?

Forgive my honesty, and feel free to disagree with me.

I can assure you that who you are intrinsically is always more interesting than the image you may try to craft of yourself. Always. In such high-pressure environments, it is super easy to hide behind who you think you need to be for a place in this industry. You are actually creating more problems for yourself by doing this; by denying yourself the right to be who you are in the space, you deny yourself access to the feeling or things you are chasing.

Do not listen to anyone who tells you to leave your bags at the door. Acting is a personal craft, it requires your entire being (WARTS AND ALL) no matter what technique you practice. If you feel something is missing in you, or there is a block stopping you from doing it, it is generally fear and because you're denying the depth of your emotional life for the sake of comfortability. Being afraid, or blocked, or trying to protect yourself does not equal weakness. If everyone around you was honest in how they felt about themselves and where they were in life, there would be scary parallels of inadequacy and a stew of fears. The second you truly understand that everyone is just as lost and needing of love as you are, is the second you set yourself free. And this is important to understand because by following the impulse to pursue a career as an artist, you are stepping into the job of telling human stories. And I hate to say it, but human nature is more complex than a perfectly crafted Instagram feed. Anyone who tells you otherwise is hiding.

So I encourage you to stand up, demand respect and own your space. This industry needs more bravery, honesty, and vulnerability. Everything I have just said, I am still grappling with it. I am still learning. I am not a superhero because I am attached to a big theatre company. I stand opposite you, excited to see you show up. There are no short cuts, just start digging to strike that gold.

And finally, every no is a yes in disguise. Find your yes. I'll see you out here.

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