Ranja's Story

The Roundhouse offered me space to be able learn, experiment and be. To fall over, pick myself back up and say ‘this is who I am’.”

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My first experience with the Roundhouse was about 2 years ago. At the time, I was looking to pursue a career in filmmaking and the creative arts, and I came across the Wax Lyrical programme after a friend recommended it to me. It was a 6-week long poetry project at the Roundhouse. I was a bit hesitant at first because I had just left a stable job and was working to sustain myself at the time, so I was very hesitant about taking a gamble with this. After talking on the phone to someone at the Roundhouse, I was more convinced to come. Then I did the taster course, which pushed me into applying.

It spun my whole world around

After spending 6 weeks developing the performance, it spun my whole world around. In terms of ways of thinking and doing, it was like therapy through the creative arts. It really changed my way of thinking and I gained a level of confidence. Before, I couldn’t really do improv or acting and stuff like that. I was a good public speaker, but in terms of letting loose and letting my inhibitions go, it was a fast track to coming out of my shell.

Over that six weeks, I saw that the impact it had on me and essentially, I didn’t want it to be over. So I applied to start working as a Youth Support Worker here at the Roundhouse, and I now support on various projects including the Bloomberg Broadcast Programme and the Summer Show.

The Summer Show

My favourite Roundhouse memory was during the Summer show. I was working with 15-17 year olds as a Support Worker, and a lot of them were from areas I grew up in. The last day of the project alone was my favourite, the way they were, they were so different, so touched, so inspired, they didn’t want it to end. Seeing how much difference two weeks can make when you’re working on something together was like being able to see myself go through that transition. It made me realise what I’m doing here is valuable.

After the Roundhouse

After doing Wax Lyrical I kept pursuing my poetry. I’ve now performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Rich Mix, and here at the Roundhouse as well. Poetry really improved a different side of me, my storytelling, how I see the world and stuff like that.

I’ve learnt to be myself and not hold back. To be confident and stand in front of a crowd of 300 people and be intimate in terms of sharing a piece of work. Learning to perform and learning the craft of being an artist is different; it’s not just performing, it’s trying to connect with people.

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