It all started back in late 2020. I was invited by a couple of friends to a theatrical walking tour. It sounded right up my street. I love both history and theatre. I went along, absolutely loved it, and felt a pang of envy watching the team of actors who were obviously in their element. I thought, I'd love to do something like this and be paid for it! Suddenly, by chance, I realised I knew someone in the team! I got chatting to them, we exchanged contact details, and I mentioned how much I'd love to be involved in something like that.
Two days later or thereabouts, the owner of the company called me and said, as i had expressed an interest in working with them, could I possibly step in last minute to cover a cast member who had gone down with Covid. I had about two days to learn the script and role. I was shocked but also incredibly excited, and said yes straight away and began studying the role. I'm pretty spiritual about these things and decided that this fortuitous turn of events meant that it clearly was meant to be.
And that was it! suddenly i was in the show and a part of the team. I ended up not just covering for a one night but for the entire run, and formed a close bond with the other cast members. A few months later, in 2021, I was cast in their next themed tour, and had a fantastic time on that too. Everything seemed perfect and I would have bent over backwards to work for this company (and often did, cancelling commitments and other work) as I loved it so much.
However towards the end of the second tour run the problems began. several cast members began displaying signs of mental health and addiction issues. One in particular kept threatening to walk out. I noticed that drugs were being regularly used by cast members, but didn’t think this would affect me because, you know, actors eh? Then, one of the cast members who I was close to suffered a break down. This meant that the run had to be cut short.
There wasn't any clear indication that I was to be singled out and punished; until approximately a month later. I was called to meet up with my boss to return costumes. It was then that I was informed that I (and I quote) was being “dumped" from the company. I sat there dumbfounded as I was effectively blamed and scapegoated for other cast members breakdowns and issues, - and as the newest member of the cast; - it was I who had to go. I managed to hold myself together and waited until after I'd left to break down in tears of rage and frustration.
After a few days of licking my wounds and torturing myself with how I had managed to lose the one job I had absolutely adored, especially when I had given so much to it; - I came to the conclusion that the only way to address this injustice was to create something myself - something better! I love bringing stories to life through theatre, so why not set up my own tours?
Witchcraft and the history of witches had always been of great interest to me, so after doing a bit of research, I decided that i would create a witch-themed tour for Halloween, and set about doing just that.
A few months later and I was running Hex and the City. I ran it for 7 days in the last week of October 2021 and sold out three times over. It was more successful than I ever imagined in my wildest dreams. Not bad, in the middle of a pandemic!
After that, I thought - well why not do other tours? why not create a business out of this like that other company did? And the rest, they say, is HERSTORY. (Or more accurately, Herstorical Tours ;-)
I firmly believe that there is a lesson and a gift in every experience- good and bad. And I am living proof that sometimes, being fired is a GREAT thing and that if you can change careers; get fired then set up a business during a pandemic; you can do anything!