How did it all start?

It all started when my Grandma sent me a competition created by The Evening Chronicle. It was a young reviewer competition that people aged 16-25 years of age had to write two reviews, whether it is a TV programme, music, film or theatre and sends them into The Evening Chronicle. If your reviews were chosen then you would go through to the next stage where by you would complete alongside other young reviewers and review theatre or music etc that would be published in the paper.

I wrote a satirical article on the BBC’s Waterloo Road and a review of a performance by Hayley Westenra. It was a long wait to get the result but I found out that I got through to the next round.

My first review was a performance at The Theatre Royal, Newcastle reviewing Three Phantoms- remember being nervous as not only did I have the review to think about I had a deadline and a word limit to work too. The review had to be 500 words and sent in by 10am the next day. Most of the shows finished late so I had to quite literally think on my feet when it came to the writing.

Looking back I laugh at myself stressing out as I can now deal with the pressure of deadlines as I write for 10 publications that I have learnt to adapt to deadlines and style guides.

As I was saying I was really nervous about my first review. I was studying Performance Studies, English Language and Dance. I was trying to be clever and use terminology that the arts world would understand; little did I know that the readers didn’t have a clue what I was talking about-

When my review was published from reading it I understood what not to and what I should include in my review. The feeling of seeing my name on the paper was like Mary Jane Bilge winning an award. I remember cutting the review out of the paper and putting it in my first portfolio. And then printing the web link out, tweeting it and sharing it on Facebook. Many of the actors and audience members tweeted me back, appraising my review.

It was from my very first review that I wanted to a reviewer for the arts. I loved the fact that my review was creating interaction between audiences.

So thanks to good old Grandma Pat I had found my niche, I had wanted to be a dance teacher but had now found a new passion which was writing.

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