Our Scottish history is not a fixed thing. It changes under observation and through investigation. We would be fools to think we are done with it, that it is written. We would be fools to think our history is done with us, its secrets spilled, and that it has been spoken by all those who should speak it, heard by all those who should hear it.
In 2014, my father died suddenly. After a period of estrangement we were starting to talk again but slowly, with hesitation and with many false starts. Then our fledgling reconciliation was cut short, on a crisp clear day in November, my father died of a massive heart attack. That was it. Finally, I had lost him.
I think I sort myself out in my writing and maybe I do. So initially, The Drift, was a way to clear a path through the chaos. A way perhaps to continue the conversation but as I unpacked him from me, that thing grappling to the roots of me demanded I pay it attention. The truth that I had been skirting around the edges of for years, since the first “where you from?” Since the first “half-caste”. Since the time I realised I looked more like my Dad than my Mum. That this difference told me something. This stuff of being something Other was most of the time all I had of him and this difference informs my view, it is from this position I experience the world.
It takes a village...
The journey of this show from a one off scratch to a fully formed spoken word show is due to the belief, support and championing of Jenny Lindsay and Flint and Pitch, without their encouragement, mentoring, opportunity and directorial support, I would never have had the confidence. It was due to this generous support of Jenny and Flint and Pitch that I felt secure enough in the work to apply for the Megaphone Residency from The Workers’ Theatre. This residency was so important to me and is an amazing opportunity for artists of colour, I would never had the time and the money to have created The Drift as a show without it and I would never have come to the attention of the National Theatre of Scotland without the showcase opportunity the residency offered. The NTS picked up the show for the Just Start Here festival, offering another opportunity to develop the show further with Jenny. The NTS offered me further development time for this preview, as part of wonderful Black History Month, and the experience has been life changing and life affirming. The welcome and the careful and considered way the NTS have taken care of my work and of me has been the most wonderful experience with special heartfelt thanks going to Anna Hodgart and Rosie Kellagher and the last few weeks with Eve Nicol, Laurie Sutton and Kirsty Currie have been so important, and I am very grateful that the little scratch I took out like a fragile wee fledgling thing, is now got these big old wings and I am so happy to get the chance to acknowledge all these amazing folks, who saw something in me and my work that in the heat of grief I did not see. Thank you.