What do you want to be when you grow up?

Where the Red Kite Flies Blog Post 7

July 2022

Little me dreamed of being a vet

When I was 8 years old, my grandad, my Mum's dad who lived in Malvern, set me up to do a career test on his computer. This was the 80s but my grandad was technical ahead of his time and a bit of a genius. I answered all the questions, hoping that it would tell me that my best career path was to be a singer. But no, it said my destiny was to work in the "Police". The process of the test was enjoyed but the results were disregarded. 

Much of my childhood and early teens was spent thinking I was going to be a vet. In fact my first 'proper' after school job, at age 15, was working at a vet clinic. I worked there for over 4 years but I discovered in high school during that time that my brain didn't seem to love or understand the science that would be required for me to get into Veterinary college. Luckily, it was soon after that that I discovered photography and locked myself into the darkroom at school for many of the daylight hours.

I recently put a question out to the kids/teenagers/young adults involved in my 'Where the Red Kite Flies' project about whether anything they did as younger kids influenced either the things they love doing now or their career choices.

And now over to Emba and Maisie. Thank you both for your wonderful writing and insights. 

Emba Wimbush

Emba, 2013

I first found an interest in circus in the summer of 2016. I was a gymnast but struggled with the strict deduction systems in competition, you’d lose points for things as simple as hair touching the floor and this was choking my swath of ideas for movement and funky flips. My friend Maya had found a circus summer school with No Fit State, one of the UK’s leading companies in contemporary circus. I immediately fell in love with it; it had all the hard work, dedication and challenges I loved about gymnastics but it also pushed creativity, individuality and uniquity. I’ve always been obsessed with seeing all the ways I could push my body’s limits and circus helped me fall in love with my own potential as a performer and artist. Following the summer school, Maya and I persuaded our parents to pay for our train tickets to Cardiff every weekend for about 6 months to attend their weekly youth circus classes. I mostly focused on trampolining and aerial there. 

Growing up in Lammas, I had a whole field to play with and my proprioception started evolving from an early age. As a child I was constantly pestering my parents to put me in those gymnastics classes I mentioned earlier, as well as trampolining, dance, martial arts; anything with that wow factor I immediately wanted to try. When I wasn’t doing this, I was running around, climbing trees, breaking multiple trampolines through use, and just throwing myself about the place. Essentially, I’ve only ever been active and love finding all the weird ways to vary or further my training and skill vocabulary.  

I’ve always been a very strong character, and love sharing my passions with others. Teaching proved to be a talent of mine as I tried along the way, I’m good at figuring out how different people learn and how to explain things in a way that caters to that. On top of this I love helping people, especially helping them find passions in things they initially thought were unreachable. From the age of 12 I’ve wanted to be a personal trainer of sorts. I love the idea of bringing a new lease of life to others, following circus more closely has shown me that teaching circus - specifically, aerial and acrobatics - would be my ideal. An absolute dream would be to own a travelling circus company that runs workshops and performances, which I could take to underprivileged countries and/or generally any place where circus is less accessible. 

I’ve currently just finished an extended diploma in physical theatre and contemporary circus at Circomedia, and in September I’ll be starting a degree. Yes, a degree, in circus. And I'm so over the moon. I’ve already reached a level I didn’t think possible at this age, and I’m only improving. I’m running a summer school for home-schooled children in Wales in August and hopefully that’ll be the start of many more. 

 - By Emba Wimbush

Emba, 2021

Maisie Wolstenholme

The Wizard of Oz, 2014 (Missing from photo: Maisie)

I think that living in the eco village without any internet or electricity to keep me entertained really forced me to use my own imagination and read books. I remember sitting on our caravan sofa to start a book and staying there until I finished the book because I was so engrossed in the story. I was about 10 or 11 and had decided that I was going to be a writer, not that I was ever any good at making up stories, or that I even enjoyed it, but I think what I really wanted to do was be a part of this magical world away from reality, and I wanted to be a part of creating it. When we finally got electricity, I was obsessed with watching films on our 7” screen dvd player, it was a whole new world to discover. I had already exhausted all the books in the children's section of the library and at the time this was a step up from the books I had been reading. All the colour and excitement of a story was visually there in front of me rather than just in my head. Not that I have ever stopped loving books or appreciating the comfort of reading a good book.

Also, an important thing to note is that I was never completely without films. I would watch them in school and at friends' houses and, before moving to Lammas, films were very much a part of my life. But I think it is perhaps because for a short period film and tv were much more inaccessible to me that I loved it so much more when it was available.

Recently the lovely Amanda visited me in Cardiff and we ended up talking about a play that my sister Matilda put on in 2014: The Wizard of Oz. Matilda appointed herself as director and actress and cast other children of the village to also perform in the show. It was then performed to all parents, siblings and volunteers at the time and popcorn was served during the interval.  I think I must’ve wanted to be a part of this ambitious project, but was far too shy to ever want to be on stage. So back stage seemed to suit me very well. I think I didn’t quite realise it at the time, but this was the perfect role in the performance for me. I was able enjoy and partake in the excitement and magic of the show without actually (God forbid) being in the show. The show is something I often think back to fondly and I think that it was a great and very memorable event within our community!

Despite the success of the show, I did not instantly decide that I wanted to be a part of the theatre industry, perhaps partly because I never considered it to be an actual career path. In school I stubbornly decided that I wanted to do art, despite it maybe not being my best subject or the most obvious choice for me. I decided to do a BTec in fashion at Pembrokeshire College and was fully set to go to a university to study fashion, so much so that when applying to universities I applied for all fashion courses but one. I imagined myself in the future to be living a glamorous life working in fashion but then was told by a costume designer that if I wanted to make money to do fashion, but if I also wanted a happy life, then I should do costume and also to study it at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama... I decided I wanted a happy life.

So I have now just completed my second year at the Royal Welsh College, studying Design for Performance, and I really feel like I am in the right place and right industry for me. It is a very collaborative and arty environment to be in, and I’m really glad to have fallen into it. It feels very much that I accidentally ended up here, and I find it very interesting to have come from the community that I have, and how a lot of what I have learnt about being a part of a community links to working with a team to put on a show. I’m not completely sure which part of the theatre industry I will end up working in, but I don’t think that I have ever really had a solid idea of what I wanted to do when I grow up, so I will have to trust the process and see what happens.

- By Maisie Wolstenholme

Maisie, 2021

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