During lockdown we started Inside Out, a weekly digital drama club for older LGBTQ+ people. We share stories, play improv games, identify lessons from work by queer dramatists, write about our experiences and hone our performance skills. We asked Linda Haggerstone about her experience of Inside Out and how she’s stayed creative during lockdown.
What has been your favourite part of drama club?
Most of all, I have enjoyed meeting people and hearing (hearting) stories from their lives, in all their beautiful diversity and honesty. I feel so blessed and honoured to have worked with every one of them. Respect!
What are the best lessons that you’ve learned about writing and performing?
I know that I enjoy both very much and have participated in both creative activities in different ways. I’ve learned that I’m not too bad at either beyond the realms of teaching, ritual, storytelling, and the days when my sister and I used to ‘entertain’ the neighbours on our front lawn. I’ve learned to respect my own needs and ask for them to be met. And I’ve learned that theatrical collaboration can indeed be great fun.
Has drama club helped you discover something about yourself that you weren’t aware of before?
That perhaps my life has been interesting after all and others might enjoy hearing about / learn from my experiences. Friends often tell me this, but when I feel I’m simply living and muddling through, it’s possible to not take them seriously.
What are other ways you’ve stayed creative during lockdown?
Co-organising and hosting events with my LGBTQ+ Interfaith Network. Creating haiku and a hand portrait (ASL for ‘I love you’) for Postcards for Solidarity, an exhibition and mailout to those feeling isolated, especially asylum-seekers and refugees. Unexpectedly winning third prize in my work’s original haiku competition. Writing the outline for a murder mystery and creating a comic during Trans Pride Scotland. Etc. (in general, learning how to be creative online).
What can people expect from We Were Seized by the Spirit of Love? Why should people see it?
Much love and camaraderie has gone into creating this production. The pieces are honest, expressing all the feels: joy, pain, wonder, anger, faith, longing, hope … I would like people across the generations to experience each story, for each one is as different as the storyteller. There are lessons to be learned and questions to be asked. No matter your age, never doubt that you make a difference in this world.