Tom Marshman & Jennifer Bell

Since lockdown began, many different social issues were brought to light. Among them are the challenges the  LGBTQ+ community still face, in all parts of their life. It’s often said the best way to help those in need is to educate and spread awareness, and how better to do that than art? That’s why Hawkwood were proud to host Tom Marshman and Jennifer Bell as part of our artist residency.

“Over lockdown, I lived in my imagination. Luckily for me, I can do this easily – I have always been a daydreamer, my world has always been extended to incorporate historic, queer and autobiographical narratives”

One thing all artists struggled with over lockdown, regardless of background, was space. We could all dream and plan, but the more we tried to put those plans into practice the harder it became. For performers like Tom and Jen that only became more difficult. The only space they had to practice was their own homes.

But that wasn’t the only problem. Another is that, under the stresses of the world, everyone wants you to always be professional. Sometimes they don’t see that having a moment to be yourself and have fun is being professional. Sometimes you need an opportunity to be yourself, especially when you’re trapped at home.

“One day Tom and I rehearsed al fresco all afternoon! We went on many walks, and rolled down the hill like we were 8. A reset.”

Luckily for the two of them they found exactly what they were looking for at Hawkwood. They found wide spaces where they could spread their wings and practice. They found an open sky for their ideas to take flight. They found the freedom to explore their narratives and how they wanted to put them into their work. Most of all, they even found opportunities to be unprofessional and enjoy themselves.

And they let us see that to truly engage with your work you have to feel it with everything in your body. You have to take a moment to disengage with the world and lose yourself in it. You have to know exactly when to take a break, and when to focus on work. That’s the best way to build the narrative you need to build, and to reach out to the most people with your message.

“I worked so intensely over this time, and now it’s September and I am reflecting back on all that I have done, I feel Hawkood was integral to keeping me level when my work was escalating.”

Full credit to Tom Marshman and Jen Bell for an inspiring residency.


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