To ‘Find a New Hobby‘ was on my 101 things in a 1001 days list because for the last ten years I had dedicated a lot of time tirelessly raising money for my children’s primary school and although I loved every minute of it, I felt it was time to do something for myself. I had found my 10 years at the school fulfilling, enjoyable and social and I desperately needed something to replace a huge hole in my life.
Years ago I was a big theatre fan, I wrote a weekly column in my local newspaper (The Stafford Post). Now I had time on my hands I decided to rekindle that old love. I went as much as I could afford to. I had started a blog and a twitter account to support my ‘theatre diary’. I certainly didn’t intend to start reviewing again because as I freely admit – I do tend to like everything.
Actually I think this counts as getting two new hobbies, theatre-going and blogging!
Although I find going to the theatre very enjoyable, I didn’t find it very social, more often than not I was going to the theatre alone and although I really didn’t mind that, I would then come home and spend solitary hours on my blog.
I started following other theatre-bloggers websites and following them on Twitter. Before long I was invited to blogger’s meet-ups to talk theatre, theatre, theatre – what joy!
I do tend to be the oldest by far in this group of young whippersnappers only the legendary West End Wilma trumps my age 😀 – but they are a fantastic group of passionate theatre goers co-ordinated by the bubbly glorious and total irresistible Rebecca Felgate who is the editor of Official Theatre. I am very aware that I have got a lot to learn but I am being taught by the best! I have a weekly column in our local online news website and I also contribute to other websites too.
Since joining the #ldntheatrebloggers I have been thrust completely out of my comfort zone of focusing on purely on musicals and seen some phenomenal plays in the West End and more importantly discovered fringe theatre as well.
I wanted to bring something different to my blog. I cannot ever hope to compete with the more eloquent and experienced bloggers plus the train fare in and out of London was not sustainable. (tsk Southern Rail) So I started to look at my local theatres at lot more.
I am blessed living in East Grinstead, not only having Chequer Mead Arts Centre on my doorstep and the West End and Eastbourne/Brighton an hour or so away, I have some GREAT venues only a hop skip and a jump away and now I was in 7th heaven trying to keep up with all their news as well! I currently work with The Hawth Crawley, The Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, The Capitol, Horsham and The Fairfield Halls, Croydon with MANY more venues on the horizon.
My posts about local theatre gained my site a lot more interest from the general public and soon the idea of Theatre South East was born!
So I pulled all the theatre posts out of this blog (sammioneill) and started a new blog with a new name and a tidier look! I admit to start again from scratch was completely disheartening. It took me days to sort out how I wanted it to look (shh – I am still not 100% happy with it, so maybe I shall have to invest some money at some point).
Still my musing are a hobby, nothing professional and therefore so keeping my blogging as stress free as I can. Many companies want me to promote their shows, but I only do what I can.
I have more plans for Theatre South East, but time is my issue. It is a hobby I am currently loving. I would love it to be more but it would have to start sustaining itself. Maybe I shall start selling advertising (boo) or being a ticket agent. Not sure. What do you think?