Arts Emergency

Naomi Paxton

Actress, PhD Student, Researcher, Comic

I have always had a great passion for theatre and was lucky that my mother, who had been a dancer, encouraged my passion and took me to plays, concerts, ballets and operas as a child. Performing and being around the making of theatre and performance work seemed to ‘fit’ me, to feel where I belonged – and I decided to pursue it professionally. My main goal was to appear in a West End play and I achieved that, due to a lot of luck, the determination to keep going, hard work and relentless optimism! During my time in that show, I discovered by chance the story of the group I am now researching – the Actresses’ Franchise League. They were the professional theatre wing of the Votes for Women movement and learning about them, their political campaigning and their work has been fascinating, inspiring and challenging. I am now doing a doctorate about them and have published a book. I still perform, mostly in comedy, and still have a passion for theatre. Fortunately I’m much wiser about the business but just as optimistic about the process and outcomes! I currently teach university students drama and have taught drama and puppetry in special needs orphanages in Romania in the past. I would like to volunteer for Arts Emergency because I feel I can give encouragement and support in a creative as well as practical way – having mentors and people to talk to, bounce ideas off and spend time with is so important and to know that you have the support of someone you trust personally as well as professionally is invaluable in developing the confidence to not only ‘follow your dreams’ but also to try things out, explore possibilities and most of all, move forward. I love to help if I can, and I think I can!