Course studied: BA (Hons) Acting
Graduating year: 2017
“There was never a point during my course where I felt as though I couldn't be a writer as well as an actor…”
Bath Spa alumna Naomi (BA (Hons) Acting, 2017) is an actor, writer and creative. Naomi balances her role for a writing company alongside commissioned work that includes poetry, such as the Lockdown Lullaby, which she performed on behalf of Bath Spa University during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m an actor and a writer. When Covid hit things changed. I had to adapt in different ways to the pandemic, and interestingly, I had quite a lot of commissions to write and perform poetry during lockdown. The brief for this project was really open; it was about my experience of lockdown and the setting was Bath.
I set out to write what I truly felt because, for me, lockdown was a learning curve. Connection had changed in so many ways. When lockdown first started, we felt as though connection had completely disintegrated. I thought: where can we find those connections? I started to learn about what connection really meant.
I often thought about what it was going to be like after this. I didn’t want to come out of this time and just be the same. I wrote the poem before George Floyd’s death but in a weird way, it became connected with it because I was talking about empathy and connection and feeling. I thought: when this is over, how are we going to change? When all this dies down, are we still going to feel like this? In this way, the poem became bigger for me.
What I want to achieve in my writing is for whoever is reading it or listening to it to get a glimpse of what I was feeling in that moment.
"I wanted Lockdown Lullaby to have an impact; I wanted people to feel connection through it. I didn't expect it to have such an impact or for people to be so moved by it. That was a big thing for me."
How I've developed in my current role
In September 2020 I was offered a job for a writing company. As part of my role, I worked on and hosted online events.
I worked on an international writing conference – a big event for which I was in charge of managing the team. Scheduling was the most difficult task to master, because we had speakers attending from all over the world. We worked through four time zones; London, Mumbai, New York and Adelaide, so that people were able to tune in at whatever time suited them.
Event Management was never something I thought I would go into. As an actor, a writer or an artist, when a job comes along that isn’t directly connected to your passion it can feel separate. For me it was about changing that mindset and exploring how this role was connected to what I ultimately want to do.
I was able to use my creative talents to connect and collaborate with so many writers in the masterclasses and workshops I hosted.
The course encouraged my writing talent while allowing me to study acting
As a child, I didn't speak very much – I was painfully shy – mainly because I had quite a severe stutter.
I became very frustrated trying to get words out, so I wrote all the time. Writing was my way of communicating my emotions or my wants.
After that, I attended speech therapy. Now, as an actor, I rely on my voice so much and I’m often told it is one of my greatest assets.
When I began auditioning at different universities for my degree in acting, I would be quite upfront in my interview and ask if I could bring writing into my degree.
"I’d ask: 'Can I bring poetry into this performance?' Bath Spa was the only place that said: 'Yes, of course you can do that, that would be great!'"
There was never a point during my course when I felt as though I couldn't be a writer as well as an actor. When it came to something like trying to decipher scripts, I wasn’t just thinking about the actor’s role, but also the writer's perspective, which allowed me to look at the script slightly differently.
In my final year, two very close friends and I created our show Seeds.
My work in Seeds was all about my experiences as a black woman. It was about telling our truth and connecting to the audience.
The skills that I have developed during the course of my degree have enabled me to get involved in mentoring – I'm currently working with a child on his confidence and communication.