Lots of things I have done have been successes, but I’m rubbish at thinking of them as such. It’s almost a form of imposter syndrome – if I’ve done something, then clearly it can’t have been that hard. I think it’s worse with things that I do regularly, or that lots of people I know have done, as that makes these things seem “normal” rather than something worthy of celebration. (But of course things that my friends have done are achievements that should be celebrated, whether they overlap with my own or not – brains are weird).
So I’ve decided that I need to somehow mark some of the creative things that I’ve done over the past few years that I’m proud of – hence this blog post!
An hour-long solo show
It’s been a while since I wrote and performed “How is the Universe Like a Lightbulb?” and I’m not sure if I’ll ever perform it again, but having written, memorised and performed (in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd) a show of my own is definitely something I’m proud of. Sadly life events meant that it didn’t get a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, but I did manage to record it and show it to my Dad, who liked it. I actually couldn’t stay in the room and watch it with him (isn’t it weird how it’s that which weirded me out, rather than the actual performance?) but I’m so glad he got to enjoy it. I’d like to write more shows now, but with a bit of a clearer idea of who they are going to be for- this half-comedy half-lecture requires a somewhat specific audience!
Packing up an escape room
I ran a Physics-themed Escape Room for the Cambridge Science Festival in both 2017 and 2018. As I was only able to get the space for an afternoon I could only manage a few teams each time, and it sold out pretty much as soon as it went on sale, disappointing many. I’d have loved to be able to run it more, but getting permission to use the room at other times seemed impossible (a never-ending run of people who were all sure that they didn’t have the authority to let me do it). However, one of the things that I’m most proud of with the room (which was an achievement in itself, even though I was able to work on it a little during work hours) is that I was asked to run it in Nottingham at the Festival of Science and Curiosity, and managed quite handily to set it up in a space at the Video Games Museum. As I had all day I was able to get a few more teams through it than in Cambridge, and it hadn’t sold out quite so quickly initially, but I still had to turn away people who wanted to take part on the day. I hope this will come out again sometime, but I may have to source some new bits for it to replace things that I’d borrowed.
Keeping my science comedy going
Even though I’ve not been making it down to gigs in London for a while, I have managed to keep my science comedy group in Cambridge, “The Variables”, in a good supply of gigs. We’ve just done our third show at the Cambridge Science Festival, and sold out in about 2 days. Even when our gigs aren’t part of the Science Festival we’re still pretty much selling out, which I think is good going. I’m proud to have managed to keep that going, not least because it means that I’m offering some people some good chances to perform!
Getting my comedy group booked for a paid gig
As well as being happy with the continued existence and success of The Variables, I’ve been particularly happy this year with one specific gig. This February we were booked to perform at the Cavendish Laboratory (the Physics Department of the University of Cambridge) as part of their Wellbeing Week. This not only meant performing at a new venue (the first time the group has performed in a lecture theatre, although not the first time I personally have), but also getting paid for it. Even though I don’t expect this to be a regular thing, it certainly feels like a milestone.
I hope that there’s much more to come – I certainly intend to keep the science comedy going. I’m sure there will be other new projects too, although I have no idea what they’ll be yet.