In all brutal honesty, I started theatre blogging for three reasons in particular. Firstly, I knew it would be a fantastic way to get my name out there in the world of theatre and that it was something I could do from the comfort of my own home and fit it around school commitments at the age of 15. Another reason was because I have been writing daily for years anyway – mostly for personal consumption – so it seemed like a good way to keep that ticking for a cause, too. And finally, the main reason I decided theatre blogging was a good idea was because – in all honesty – 15 year old Shaun needed those free theatre tickets to keep his passion alive without becoming completely broke (which he did anyway)
Regardless of my initial reasons behind starting SMM, I really had no idea the kind of doors that it would open for me (was that a pun on myself? Yes.) In the first few months of starting the website, it helped launch me into becoming the first blogger for London Theatre Direct, a position that I continue to hold to this day many years later. Through them, my profile as a theatre blogger grew immensely and soon, I was visiting shows weekly to review them for either my own website or for theirs and it was a great feeling.
Also through London Theatre Direct, I’ve had several different exciting opportunities including covering the Olivier Awards twice via their Twitter feed, as well as branching out onto their YouTube channel as well. They of course got me to my first press nights as well about three years ago with shows like Cats and Sunset Boulevard and have also gotten me to many different exciting and exclusive events too, which have been an incredible amount of fun as well.
The fact that London Theatre Direct helped to make SMM grow also meant that other publications started to take an interest in me. Theatre & Performance Magazine asked me to interview Carol Channing for an issue of their magazine this time last year all about the then-upcoming Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Middler – they also asked me to review the press night of Funny Girl in the same issue. Other companies have taken an interest in my work as well, including the likes of LondonTheatre1, Theatre People AU and many more.
The most valuable part of this experience so far though has been the people that I’ve gotten to know. Not only have I made amazing personal friends along the way, but I’ve also made other great acquaintances through the business too from the likes of actors and producers, to PR Managers and directors. It’s a wide variety of friendly faces and contacts that I’ve gotten to know over the past three years and considering that was what I wanted to try and do at age 15, it seems to be going strong.
While the past few years of theatre writing have been amazing fun for me, I do have to highlight that it has never become an ultimate career path for me, which is a strange thing to say. I always knew when I started that making theatre writing an end-goal career for me was never the option and the thought in my mind hasn’t changed since. As much as I love doing it, I don’t love it quite like how much I love performance and writing and other artistic elements, and I think that’s just okay. It’s a magical part of the puzzle on my big theatrical journey and no matter what may come of it, I’m sure proud of how hard I’ve worked at it.
I’m not very sure SMM will make it to five years on the internet, but never say never. While this journey has been an absolutely fantastic one, as I leave school and set out into my career as I want it to begin, I question the place that it has in the grand scheme of things. Nonetheless, theatre writing always holds such a near and dear place to my heart and while I may not want to do it forever, I sure am enjoying doing it right now.
More about the future of my blogs and other creative ventures will be the feature of a new blog post coming out very soon.