I received an email one day from my beloved Young Vic and got excited. The Beauty Project they called it, a chance to get involved and devise a piece about beauty.
Which then got me thinking about what it meant to me. Being healthy, shining from the inside but these all felt a bit basic.
When I arrived at the initial meeting to hear the thoughts of the wonderful Imogen as well as Kirsty and Scarlett, theatre maker and choreographer respectively, my excitement grew. We were going to do this from scratch.
To hear the thoughts of so many lovely young women affected me in different ways. Some were funny but so many were sad or down and hard on themselves. Showing my age a little bit but I don’t remember it being this hard when I was younger.
We discussed so many topics and brought in our inspiration. Everything came up from eating disorders, to sexism, feminism, porn, sexual assault… the list went on.
I was in a state of despair with regards to how bad things were. Then Scarlett and Kirsty reminded me that there is always hope. We can change things. I just couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t noticed these things before?! Why was I not more disturbed by the everyday assault on my wellbeing??
The ads telling us to ‘eat beautiful’ to reveal our beauty potential, the casual sexism that was everywhere, the scarily relaxed attitude towards sexual assault on drunken nights out. That women should be more careful, when the cold truth is that people shouldn’t rape!
Which got me thinking, I had a story to tell. One that I’d mentioned to a close few and never in detail. One that so many people would never tell. But how would I do this? Fortunately, working with a talented ensemble and professionals, it all came to light. How about we just tell the story, strip it back.
It was a dream to watch everyone’s pieces coming together. How it was all so different yet relevant. How we all supported each other. How our experiences were weaved together into a piece of work that I am incredibly proud to be a part of.
How we were all so different yet connected. We all identified with each regardless of race, income, upbringing etc. It is the human experience, which is what we all are regardless of sex. Everything is relative and transcends.
There’s a quote by Margaret Mead that I love – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
I can’t thank the Young Vic enough for allowing me to be a part of something so special. To perform in a piece of work that I helped create, that I love and in it’s own small way can help change the world.
May the movement of healing and self love spread!
- Kandy Rohmann, a participant and performer in the project
To learn more about the Young Vic’s Taking Part projects, visit http://www.youngvic.org/taking-part