20 Stories High Intern Maria, on placement with the ERASMUS Exchange Scheme, talks about arriving in Liverpool and adjusting to the different culture (and weather) as well as the similarities with her home town of Porto in Portugal.
Having just arrived in Liverpool at the end of February, I didn’t really know what to expect. The luggage was heavy and the weather was colder, forgive the commonplace but I wasn’t acquainted. I did have some hopes, however, which are not the same as expectations.
I was looking for something new. Let me tell you, I love England. As a child I used to dream of moving to this country and becoming a famous Hollywood actress. I can now see how misplaced that was, but the same thing can’t be said about my taste for The Beatles, who fed my teenage years at the top of the world. I had good reasons to come. But I won’t skip the running away from yourself part.
I felt very welcomed at 20 Stories High. I can almost say it was like I imagined it. Colourful, engaged, young. I think it is a privilege to be integrated in the activities of such a motivated, well-oiled team. It’s not like it was easy, for me it has not been, and I can express further my difficulties but for now, let me just say thank you for the opportunity of being here. It is a wonderful challenge.
I thought that my English was good, however I must say I wasn’t prepared for the Liverpudlian accent. I call it the potato in the mouth, and it is quite funny. Unfortunately it sometimes becomes a barrier while I am trying to interact with other people. I do struggle a little bit when it comes to relating in new environments. No less afraid than a little kid at an adolescent’s party, I try in little steps to get involved.
The kind of work we are doing at the rehearsals is actually similar to what I used to do when theatre was my hobby. It reminds me of why I loved it so much and what it meant to me. Then I went to Drama school and as everything became more serious, I may have lost some joy in the process. It truly is about the chance to express our thoughts and feelings in a creative manner, and the friends we make along the way.
Liverpool is a very nice city, full of coffee shops and beautiful buildings. Small enough to walk around, big enough to make things happen.
I even mentioned to my friend that in some particular aspects it is much like Porto, the Portuguese city where I studied. These are both tough cities; I believe that behind the beauty and majesty of the facades there is a hidden (or not so hidden) somehow struggling population.
One sees the homeless people, the substance abuse, the discrimination and crime as some of the consequences of bigger factors (that might be similar in both countries) such as poverty, spiritual emptiness or political negligence. By living here for the past three or four weeks, I became aware of the importance of companies such as this one – that are giving voice to the mentioned problems and contributing to find solutions. I can already see the impact on the life of everyone involved in the projects, and their growing empowerment.
I look forward to learn about this ethical theatre making and gain more experience while I am here.
To be continued…