I have spent rather too much time thinking about awards over the last seven months. Mainly of the Funny Women variety, as rather amazingly we have completed a very unusual 2020 Awards season, and because I was nominated for a couple of business awards.
I have steered clear of putting myself forward for such accolades as don’t really think in the context of ‘award-winning’ for my assumed entrepreneurship or business success. I am more comfortable giving out our awards. Comedy is challenging enough in ‘normal’ times so I have always been about ‘doing a good job’, rather than winning prizes.
That said, encouraged by friends and advisors, particularly in this peculiar year, I welcomed the nominations which recognised my commitment to running a community in such tricky times. Although I didn’t end up winning anything, I enjoyed the brief confidence boost that comes with any kind of professional recognition.
For me, the reward really is in the doing and the fact that I am still doing it! I am lucky that I love my work and still have a purpose. It has never been an easy ride and I’ve faced many difficult times. My original vision of Funny Women has gone way beyond where I ever thought it would go with an Awards cohort which now spans 17 competitions and five separate Awards. It’s a good legacy.
Yet there was one important award in store for Funny Women.
Being ‘awarded’ (because it did feel like a very big ‘prize’) a grant from the DCMS Culture Recovery fund, is by far one of the biggest deals of my Funny Women career. I have wished for cultural recognition, both for comedy in general and my business, for years and although it has taken a global pandemic to achieve this, I am pleased as punch. Suddenly Funny Women is in the company of some major Arts Council (ACE) funded institutions – my wish has been fulfilled.
‘If we have the power to imagine whatever we can, why not imagine the best?’ said Ariana Huffington, at the Massachussets Conference for Women in 2019. Ariana knows a thing or two about resilience, ambition and achieving her goals but I do agree that we can make our dreams come true if we believe in ourselves and our actions.
I run an exercise in my Stand Up to Stand Out workshop that focuses on the power of wishing and imagination. This works as brilliantly for creating comedy content as it does to help you visualise your ambitions. But I’d like to add a bit of witchy hocus-pocus into the mix here as Halloween is upon us.
Shortly before receiving confirmation of the ACE grant, I saw an incredible picture perfect rainbow in the sky and said out loud to my husband that we should each make a wish. I still don’t know if his wish came true or if he even made one (he’s used to my crazy talk) but mine did!
We have finally won an actual wonderful big award that has breathed life into this amazing rag doll of a business kept alive throughout lockdown by the dedication and commitment of an incredible team. Now we can continue working together to provide opportunities for women to explore their comedic boundaries and plan for the 2021 Funny Women Awards.
I will end with something else lovely that I saw around the same time as the rainbow and hearing Ariana’s inspirational words. Comedian Jane Postlethwaite put up a post on her Instagram to celebrate her birthday using a picture of her performing in the 2015 Funny Women Awards final five years ago. I sent a congratulatory message to which she replied: ‘one of the best days of my life’.
That’s an award in itself for me. Thanks Jane. #winning.