With LINK UP just a few days away, we had a quick chat, (via email – all safe and socially distanced!) with some of the artists who will be having conversations and sharing their creative processes during this mini-festival.
Previously we chatted to Roma Havers, so next up is Mark Croasdale – Hi Mark!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work as an artist?
My name is Mark and I’m a theatre maker but, also, I take great pleasure in describing myself as a ‘creative pie-poker’.
I like to dip my fingers in lots of creative things from devising theatre or immersive experiences to visual art, facilitation, illustration and, in lockdown, I’ve even tried my hand at film making – which is much more difficult than you might think really.
I’m not a big fan of needing to specialise or pin down my practice, as is often the fashion.
I like to take audiences on little journeys through storytelling and question raising, inviting them to explore human psychology, human history and the humour of being human.
In the last couple of years my focus has settled on human wellbeing and mental health. I’ve begun to confront my own health history and discover shared experiences around anxiety, panic and the dreaded imposter syndrome.
As an LGBTQ+ artist I often challenge identity in my work and I urge everyone to join me in investigating themselves further through my practice. My work is about sharing ideas, together.
What three words would you use to describe the piece you’re working on?
Tender and gently radical.
Who are your guests for LINK UP and what led you to pick them as your particular guests for this event?
I can’t quite believe I get to sit down with these two icons of creativity. Cheddar Gorgeous describes themselves as a unicorn, alien, idealist and is frankly an institution in the drag scene. I’ve always admired Cheddar’s unexpected approach to drag and when I saw them at a conference speak about drag, identity and capitalism I’m sure I visibly melted because they’re also an anthropologist! There’s simple too much talent there. Cheddar talks about drag and other forms of dressing up as ways of exploring our identities, connecting with others and embodying our stories. I’m really intrigued as to how playing with our identities, performing them and questioning them can help us to understand ourselves more fully, and find a sense of peace.
Jackie Hagan is a ‘working class queer amputee’, a playwright, poet, comedian, activist and multi award-winning writer/performer. I mean, come on! As well as being an avid fan of Jackie’s work, I’m a huge fan of their down-to-earth wit. Whenever I see Jackie performing, or hosting an event, they make me feel grounded. Jackie seems to have the ability to take massive, complicated, ostentatious ideas and cut right through all the waste. I think that when we talk about wellbeing, self-care and mental health we needs more people like Jackie talking.
What the most important thing that you’d like audiences to take away from LINK UP
This is perhaps a bit of a cop-out but, the most important thing is, that there’s no single important thing.
Self-care (for me) isn’t about fulfilling a checklist of candle lighting, yoga and vitamins (although my life would certainly improve with those things I’m sure). It’s about having conversations with yourself about yourself. It’s about confronting our own vulnerabilities and sharing our collective experiences. It’s complicated, sometimes messy and entirely unique to you.
So, who’s up for watching Mark and his icons chat it out? Don’t forget your tea (or hot beverage of choice) and a good biscuit selection. Mark Croasdale: Staying ‘Well’ In takes place Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 8pm over Zoom. Tickets £5 full price, £3 Under-35s, £2 Concessions (plus, you can buy all four LINK UP events for just £10!)