A memoir of my highs and lows as a solo performer in London throughout my twenties

A woman bows onstage in a purple spotlight. She is wearing a cream coloured jacket with black trim, a white shirt and white dandy trousers, a black waistcoat, a black and white striped neckerchief and black top hat. On the left hand-side of the image is the text, ´Bethnal Green Working Men´s Club´.
A woman bows onstage in a purple spotlight. She is wearing a cream coloured jacket with black trim, a white shirt and white dandy trousers, a black waistcoat, a black and white striped neckerchief and black top hat. On the left hand-side of the image is the text, ´Bethnal Green Working Men´s Club´.

“I’m a communist but that was too much”, was a comment overheard by a performer in the bar after a rather spectacular ending of our cabaret act, Dame Theresa and the Whippettes. I am a white, queer, cisgender female and the other two performers in the act were a trans person of color and a black cisgender woman. I often wonder what was too much about it, though I rather liked the critique.

Aristotle’s Poetics is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory in Western philosophy, and many of his philosophical ideas on performance, such as catharsis, are still referred…


Coping with menstruation when you are living with anaemia: practical tips and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

An illustration of ovaries with an evil face, fangs and vampire bat wings. The ovaries and face are red, the eyes are yellow and green, the fangs are yellow and the wings are black.
An illustration of ovaries with an evil face, fangs and vampire bat wings. The ovaries and face are red, the eyes are yellow and green, the fangs are yellow and the wings are black.

I have become the protagonist in my own gothic horror story. As a character in Dracula (one my favourite novels) exclaims repeatedly, ¨The blood is the life!¨ It is a sentiment that resonates these days, my monthly cycle leaving me powerless; gloomy, as the life blood is drained from me. It is hard not to compare myself with Lucy Westenra, the young protagonist who slowly turns into a vampire after a series of Dracula’s nightly visitations. Strange that a novel that had such a powerful impact on me is now a vivid metaphor for my life.

The cause of my…


I’m not bitter but I’m not particularly interested in grandiose end of year newsletters listing people’s achievements. I decided to write my own, listing what I’d learnt in quite possibly the strangest year of my life instead.

I received a few newsletters this December, where glad tidings of great successes and monetary returns during the pandemic were shared. I think the idea behind them was, look if I could do it this year, I’m sure you could do it in the future too. Yet, in a year where poverty has definitively worsened, predicted to have a long-lasting impact world-wide, I felt the newsletters sharing their news had been misjudged. I imagined a single mum who had hopes of starting her own business in 2020 receiving the email in her ‘kitchen-office’ and reading it through tears as her…


A black & white photograph of an upside-down pill bottle facing down from the left-hand side. Above it are two overlapping half-empty sheets of pills.
A black & white photograph of an upside-down pill bottle facing down from the left-hand side. Above it are two overlapping half-empty sheets of pills.

My journey to accepting myself as a chronically ill person, looking at how we can understand illness better.

This is not a guide to instruct on coping better with illness in a world that is built for robust health. It’s about the reality of being ill, and the battle to accept it. Being ill, mentally or physically is not a choice, and the two states are often interlinked. Physical illness affects the mind, as much as mental illness affects the body. The scariest thing about illness is that at some point, most people are going to go through it.

Often…


A digital illustration of three female-signifying people bursting through a smart phone screen. One is in a wheelchair, another is calling through a megaphone and another is helping her carry the megaphone, which has the feminist symbol on it (a round circle with a cross coming out of it). The colours are red, orange, yellow and brown.
A digital illustration of three female-signifying people bursting through a smart phone screen. One is in a wheelchair, another is calling through a megaphone and another is helping her carry the megaphone, which has the feminist symbol on it (a round circle with a cross coming out of it). The colours are red, orange, yellow and brown.

Writing about language, history and its affect on the problem of gender-based violence.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is today, the 25th of November. I hadn’t planned to write about it, but the coverage in UK based socials I follow has been disappointing. As the UK is the land of my birth, I feel quite invested in how it chooses to raise awareness about the significant problem of violence against women. By socials, I mean newspapers that I follow on social media, as well as cultural and activist groups. In the south of Spain, where I…


What I discovered about living in a close-knit community of neighbours in Jerez de la Frontera, a small city in Andalusia that I moved to from London two years ago.

It is October 2020 and I have just moved out of the ‘Casa de Vecinos’ where I lived for a year and eight months. This literally translates to, ‘A House of Neighbours’. It is an old style of housing that consists of apartments in small communitary blocks, built one-on-top-of-the-other. These houses have many outside spaces — patios and roof terraces where neighbours can socialise and hang out their washing. When…


A feminist space for eccentrics drowning in discourse and tired of being judged

I am a feminist and I am tired of talking about feminism.

I first became aware of feminist theory whilst at university studying Theatre and English Literature. I had never really thought too much about it before. I thought the suffragettes had already sorted it and we were all pretty much equal. I grew up for the most part with my mother who had a successful career. My family more or less operated in different factions as a matriarchy. It was much more complicated than that of course, as it always is. …


Hi I’m Rebecca and I wear a mask in most public spaces. I’m going to tell you why, because I think it’s fine to debate these things, especially if they are government mandated. Not everyone who questions the motives of their government is an all-lives-matter, flag-waving fascist called Bob whose life is in tatters (no offence to any nice people called Bob).

Firstly I certainly don’t do things because I am ´a sheep´ (as I have been accused of being) and follow all the rules. I am anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and believe western democracy to be a sham.

Secondly, I completely…


I came to you to shake off my dreams

Vast, wise and eternal

You scrape off the clay I mould myself into.

I feel grateful, hollow and headless.

Whispered mythologies of the past

You tell us not to believe about ourselves.

You are my bosom buddy -

Receiving me there, expecting nothing.

You are dangerous,

You could crush every last life gasp out of me

If you choose to, so -

I stay shallow to the shores of you.

You make me think about wholeness;

The intricacy and beauty of this world.

You mesmerise; glittering and dancing with us all.


I want to describe to you a typical morning in the city that I live in. Two years ago I moved from London to a small city called Jerez de la Frontera, in the very South-east crook of Spain. If I described this morning to one of my Jerezano friends, they would say, ´claro, una mañana normal en Jerez, pisha´, but after months of quarantine, quiet streets and uncharacteristically nervous street interactions with the people here, it was good to get back to some normality. This particular morning was one like any other before the quarantine, except everyone was wearing…

Rebecca María

Writer & filmmaker: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain; Glasgow & London, UK. I write about health, gender and culture with humanity and heart. Also, camp.

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