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Tracey Spokes, Artistic Director of 13th Theatre Company (INTERVIEW)

— October 22, 2010 — Social Good
Tracey Spokes is the Founder and Artistic Director of the inspiring 13th Theatre Company, which is a social enterprise that uses the performing arts to create a community of equality. Using expression and drama, Tracey Spokes and her team at 13th Theatre work with children with learning disabilities, bullying or emotional issues, so that they can develop the self-confidence to reach their full potentials.

Four Questions with Tracey Spokes:

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

The idea for the business came about because I realized that the public's perception of disability needed to be changed. I wanted the company to encourage the removal of stereotyping of people and focus on the talents and what is inside a person. We live in a society where appearance is more important than personality/ideals and we need to move away from that idea and hopefully when we do we will become a kinder society that we show respect for everyone.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

Before I started the business, I was working as a temporary worker, working mainly in the public sector and doing a bit of acting here and there. Theater has always been in my blood but always knew that there was more I could do or had to do. I already had the idea for the theater company but I realized I needed to understand how to start a business. I saw an advertisement for a women's free business course, applied and got on it. The course was all about social enterprise, it was then that I realized that my company actually was a social enterprise and from that point on, I was a part of the social enterprise world.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration from all sorts of places: books, music, art, film, theater and nature. Sometimes you can look at something, hear something or read something and it triggers an idea, so you go with an idea and see if it works. Creativity is about letting the ideas inside you flow and not being afraid to follow them.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

I think creativity is within you all the time but it comes in peaks and troughs. Taking walks in the park, going to a museum and listening to music do help to re-charge my creativity. I do not have any rituals as such but when I am performing a like to get to the venue early to relax and then maybe 20 minutes before curtain up I wait in the wings. It is a bit like meditation before a show starts.

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