First Tuesday Of The Month – July

The outline of a shape I can’t yet name












I’ve been thinking about survival

I’ve been thinking about the end of the world

The end of my world

The never ending boredom, sameness

The endlessness of it all

The fragility of it all

About the desire to be anywhere, anywhere, literally anywhere, but here

About the desire to never leave home again

About wanting to be touched and to touch

About never wanting to be touched again

Or near anyone



On the pavement

Not on the bus

On the train

In a shop

But knowing I want to swim in your spit

All the contradictions

All of it, all at the same time


I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an artist

How to be an artist now?

When I’m struggling to navigate the act of being human

When I’m not certain of anything any more

How I ache to return

Talk, friends, work, art, culture

Also I miss shopping




Lets burn capitalism down


I want to get back to normal

I have no faith that there is a ‘getting back’ or a ‘normal’ to return to

I know I need new dreams

I know I do

 not want to let go of the dreams I have


All I think about is shopping, writing and change

Not changing

Staying the same

Always the same

Having a change

When will there be a change?

Will there be a change?


I am still not going out

I am still not going to the pub

I am still caring for a vulnerable person

I am at times struggling to care

Does that sound awful?

I am bored of the relentless sameness of it all

How long can you bubble with vulnerability before you become vulnerable yourself?


When I read about the redundancies at The Royal Exchange in Manchester

It was one of those moments where I felt the thought

I didn’t think it

I felt the shape of the fear and loss like a tearing

Like a part of me was being torn


My playwrighting life started in a car park, somewhere near Bradford, sitting inside a bouncy-castle-touring version of the Royal Exchange’s in-the-round stage

An approximation of the real thing

Probably a terrible gig for the actors

Standing in the pissing rain waiting for their cue to go back inside

They probably wanted to be back in Manchester, not in this fucking middle of nowhere car park


I didn’t know this then

I didn’t suspect any of that then

The possibility that

actors or artists or writers might phone in a performance

On bad days

On a day when the magic of our life, of our craft, of our community wears thin

I can’t imagine any of us ever phoning in anything ever again

How grateful will we be to be together in that car park, in that space, in any room that creates a place for theatre

To make

To share

What we would give right now

I didn’t know any of that then

I was 15

Watching Janet McTeer play Rosalind in As You Like It

To be fair, it was also the start of something queer

This night



Feeling something

Feeling the shape of something that I couldn’t yet name

But it was coming

Years would go by before I realised that it wasn’t just admiration I was feeling for Janet’s performance that night

I was a very young 15

Still played out

Mostly on my own

Most of my mates had boyfriends by then

But there I was

Witnessing a magic I had never experienced before

The magic of being held by this gang of people

Of holding on to every word they said

Of seeing their connection to themselves and to us

To me

Realising I wanted to be part of that/this world, somehow, anyhow


g that I must want to kiss Janet McTeer because she was dressed as a boy and was just so brilliant

Being everything I wanted to be but was not

That must be it

That was it


We know there was a little bit more to it now

But I didn’t know that then

I was too blown away to notice 

Too blown away by the magic of being in and of that circle

In that circle, I could understand the words the actors were saying

It was as if a translation switch had been slapped on

A sudden clarity

I could understand fucking Shakespeare

I had only been reading for 5 years of my life at this point

I didn’t learn till I was about 10

Maybe 11

I wasn’t counting

No really

I couldn’t really count

Still can’t really

Books were hard

Maths was harder

But Books were hard enough

Any book was hard

Let alone the Bard 

I couldn’t get my head around him

Not really

All his poetry felt like glue in my ears

Never reached my brain

Certainly never reached my heart

And then Janet McTeer started talking and Shakespeare suddenly reached all the parts

And what word

s they are

And what power words have 

I suddenly knew and understood

And I was set upon my course

The shape of it forming, even if I wouldn’t realise it was there for another 15 years


Every time I visit the Manchester Royal Exchange I get that thrill

That memory

That sense of tingle-hush in my bones


I’ve been thinking about not having that joy any more

I’ve been thinking about a world where the space to discover something you didn’t know you needed is gone


I sank very low thinking about all of that


And then Rishi made his announcement

I know

Thank god

Thank Rishi

Nothing to worry about

Not now

Feel stupid now

Seeing the bleak side

Being a worry goose

Everything’s fine

Good old Rishi

Only everyone knows



By now

Don’t we?

The devil is always in the detail with the Torys

Watch them

Watch out for them


Does that sou

nd ungrateful?

Does it?

Am I spoiling it?


I refuse to be grateful

I refuse to be grateful that someone in a rotten government finally tripped over a good decision

I’m relieved but I will not be grateful

I’m just relieved

But of course


I’m grateful

Of course I am

Of course I’m grateful


I am

I’m grateful

I hate that I’m grateful for these crumbs of hope

Made to wait until it felt hopeless

Made to wait

So many still waiting

So many have died waiting for the Torys to blink

I hate that I feel sincerely grateful

That I have been given something to snatch at

Hold onto

That I might get a little share of it all

Grateful that these theatre buildings I love might survive

My work 

and my world might yet survive

Might stagger on

Might against the odds somehow become better and bolder

Might become blacker and browner

Might become full of people being seen and heard

Feeling seen and heard

Maybe for the first time

Of course I’m grateful

I’m kissing earth

I’m tearing at cloth

I’m punching air

I’m ripping my garments

I’m shouting for joy

I’m crying for shame


Shock and awe

Smash and grab

Fear and hope


It’s all quite a lot

It’s all quite enough


But then sometimes there is a pause.


A glimpse of possibility, clarity and calm.

When fear and gratitude fall away

The outline of a shape I can’t yet name reveals itself

Not a thought

Not a thing that can be articulated


But I can feel it

I feel it on my isolation walks 

I’ve been noticing the flowers and trees that are growing out of crevices

Or growing out of the muck that sits between a wall and a road


Wild Flowers


Spindly little runt trees

You know?

The little cunt trees

Ripe for cutting down

Before they become a nuisance and fuck up your foundations

Ugly little scuffs of life

Sitting there

Roots dug in

Against the odds

The nasty little yellow pimple flowers

Zits on stalks

Thick and charmless

All of them

Raising their draws


Flowering against the odds

Asking for it

Asking for the bees and insects to come help them fuck

To come help them multiply and survive


None of them asking for anyone’s permission 

Making gratitude for life look like the truly dangerous, beautiful thing it is







Despite the odds

And then the moment and the clarity is gone.

But nonetheless

Something new is emerging

I can feel it.




Also by Emma,