• Sherryl-Lee Secomb

Go out and come back in again.

Have you ever considered how much we, as theatre creatives, experience ‘letting go’?We’re constantly letting go of:

  • Expectations – our experience of a show;

  • Auditions – the ones we didn't get;

  • Shows – ‘post show blues’ anyone?

  • People – not everyone we share a stage with is meant to be a lifelong friend.

It can sometimes feel like we live in a constant state of grieving. We either learn to process this grief or we’re overwhelmed by it, allowing it to affect our relationships and stifle our creative growth, clinging to the familiar to avoid more pain. We end up stuck, in avoidance, never reaching our potential.

A few months ago, I buried my grandmother, a woman whose life made my own look like I lived under a rock. She was a theatre actress and director, an inspiration and teacher to myself and many others over a 60 year career. As I sat listening to the tributes from actors she had directed over the years, the same phrase kept coming up.

“Go out and come back in again.”

Over and over, this phrase was repeated until I felt like Granny was speaking directly to me.“Sherryl-Lee, go out and come back in again.”

Pondering this phrase over the last few months, I realised something. Going out and coming back in again, implies change. You’re not meant to come back in as you left. You’re meant to spend your “off time” considering your position, your choices and how you want to move your character (life) forward. If you come back in exactly the way you left, you’ve missed an opportunity.

Coming back in doesn’t need to involve some massive revelation. It may simply be a choice to improve your performance skills, consistently arrive on time to rehearsals or be more positive in your self talk.The decision to go out and come back in again is also not a one off action. You do it constantly throughout life. This allows us to accept failure as part of our process, instead of the enemy most of us view it as. If you get something wrong, simply go out and come back in again – and be better.

Granny, I’m going out and when I come back in, I’ve determined to be braver, more protective of my time and, in honour of your courageous approach to life, refuse to make decisions based on what I think others want of me. One day, I want my tributes to say, “she went out and came back in – fierce!”

Sherryl-Lee Secomb is An Idiot On Stage. The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary.

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© 2020 by Sherryl-Lee Secomb

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