Theatre student perfects the art of storytelling
The shine of the spotlight and the roar of the crowd is something that aspiring storyteller, Toni-Dee Paul, thrives on.
Studying acting at Leeds City College led to Toni’s fascination in creating engaging stories for audiences far and wide.
Now a graduate, she hopes to promote arts and culture in her community and inspire the younger generations to think outside the box.
From a young age, Toni-Dee knew she wanted to study within the creative industries.
“I chose Leeds City College as I knew this was an environment I would thrive in. The hallways were always bustling with interesting characters; I loved meeting people from different walks of life with similar aspirations as me.
“I had encouraging and enthusiastic tutors who were incredibly inspirational, allowing me to learn about myself as a performer. The course enabled me to visit the West End and watch some fantastic shows which I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.”
Telling a different story
Toni-Dee’s acting course sparked a keen interest in the art of storytelling.
“My course helped me to see where my skill-set was best placed, and I soon realised that I had a strong fascination for storytelling in a more creative sense. Therefore, I knew I wanted to study a more hands-on theatre degree that focused on how to tell a captivating tale.
“With the support of my tutors, I got a place studying Contemporary Theatre Performance at the University of Central Lancashire.”
Since graduating, Toni-Dee has had her work published on In Other Words.
“In Other Words is a collection of urgent reflections, created by 49 artists over four months in 2020, exploring their hopes and fears for the future at a time of global crisis.
“Through prose, poetry, drawing and photography, it is a clarion call for change from a diverse group rich in wisdom, shared experience and what it means to be marginalised in the UK. For this publication, I wrote a piece called ‘Who Cares’.”
Inspiring a generation
While working at a children’s theatre in Manchester, Toni-Dee got the opportunity to run drama workshops.
“After working with some fantastically talented children, I went on to work at One Tenth Human theatre company, where I am now an associate artist. Together, we have created ‘Curious Investigators’, a new show for three to seven year olds.
“During lockdown, we are delivering live Zoom adventures straight into classrooms, homes and libraries, while continuing to work on the show for rural touring later this year. These shows encourage children to bring their curiosity about how and why things happen the way they do, while acknowledging them as the experts.”
Promoting arts and culture
Toni-Dee is passionate about encouraging people from all backgrounds to get involved in creative arts.
“In the long term, I hope to sustain arts and culture in my community, maybe by running a building where people can come together in an inclusive environment to make theatre and performance.”
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