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  • Writer's pictureCharli Pay

'Dear Players'...creativity in lockdown

In the seventh entry in our blog series, Dear Players, Charli Pay lets us into the mind of her creative genius! Since joining us in 2019, she's sparkled her way through a panto and shared her magic with all of us. Yes, we might not be together but we've been meeting online and, frankly, worked our way through quite a few themed evenings which Charli has embraced! Welcome, Charli to the Downsview Players' blog!

Charli Pay plays the magical and mischeivous fairy in Dick Whittington, the panto, 2019.
Charli as our mischievous fairy in Dick Whittington, 2019.
"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and love of play." Henri Matisse

"It’s Tuesday evening, I am alone in my living room, I am surrounded by what can only be described as a ‘crime scene’; a sheer massacre involving cardboard boxes, yellow sugar paper, Sellotape and some questionable glue sticks that continue to unceremoniously appear beneath my feet with no warning, causing much cursing and growling, only to be kicked away to another unexpected location in order to ‘rinse and repeat’ this attack at a later time.

"The theme of the week is ‘literary characters’, and in my over-tired post-nightshift haze, my literary prowess appeared to regress some years. I click to join the weekly Downsview Players' Zoom and as icons begin to appear on the screen I proudly stand back and dance around in a bright yellow sandwich board, a remarkable visual impression of the one and only Little Miss Sunshine!

"Now I don’t know about you, but I believe in all forms of self-expression. So when Rose in Titanic said: "Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls", I felt that; I mean really inherently in my soul, felt that.

"So life drawing took on a whole new meaning one week, when the players posed in a variety of costumes in tableau, recreating famous paintings by artists across the globe. Now here we saw some true self-expression and real creativity."
Charli showed all the Players how it's done when it comes to winning our weekly themed competitions.

"See, I’m a chunky girl, and proud to be so. It’s no secret to my Downsview family that I am a fan of 'me', and I look to advocate for beauty, expression and self-worth for those of all shapes and sizes. So Colombian artist Fernando Botero was my ‘go to guy’ for our art impersonation evening. Seriously, look him up, he’s fab! For me he expresses beauty, humour and normalcy among body types and gives a chunky stunner like me confidence in the knowledge that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL AND HAVE WORTH! This is something, too, that the Downsview Players embody as a whole. We are a mix of all that is weird and wonderful and together, it just works!

"Art and creativity come in many forms, as do the members of our Downsview family. If you are into architecture and design, how about a famous landmarks-themed night? We can do it all! Do you want to ‘Express yourself’ like Madonna? ‘Don’t stop believing’, because life is a Journey and this year has taken us through the darkest of tunnels, but the spotlight continues to shine on us as we learn to grow and develop and make the most of our time together. Our themed quiz nights always bring out my competitive side as I challenge the group to ‘Take on me’, A-ha! OK, I’ll stop with the 80s pop puns and just ‘let the music play’...

Downsview Players join in with themed weekly zoom calls - this week, famous landmarks.
Here's one he made earlier: Simon commits to our landmarks theme with a delivery Blue Peter would be proud of.
"When it comes to art, it’s important not to hide the madness." - Atticus.

"At no time has this been more apparent than in this current climate. With the world under siege and social distancing affecting lives, relationships and people’s physical and mental health, the Downsview Players have sought to come together to keep those creative juices flowing. We have learnt the importance of continuing to laugh and smile together and the joy of developing our passion and skill in new ways.

As life immitates art for Julie, as 'The Novice'.
"This time for us has been a time of learning, of growth, of friendship and family; and above all the discovery of absolute chaos in the face of creativity all in the expression of our art."

"I’ll be forever grateful to these guys, for their support and their commitment to each other and to the truth of individual expression. Nothing shocks us anymore! Through all this, the biggest take away I have is that you can take the stage away from the artist, but you cannot take the artist away from the stage. Until we're together again."

Pictured top left to bottom right: Charli Pay as our magical, energetic and cheeky fairy in Dick Whittington, the panto; starring alongside Julie Nye, Dick Whittington; collecting the award for 'Best Newcomer' at our annual awards 2020; recreating the magic from The Greatest Showman's tune 'This is me' at our awards dinner!

See more images in our gallery.

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