GUEST BLOG: ACTRESS/COMEDIAN JAMIE-ROSE MONK ORGANISES “ALL SORTS” FOR CREATE

Back in November, actress/comedian Jamie-Rose Monk organised All Sorts, a night of music, spoken word poetry and comedy, in support of Create. This raised £1,132. In her guest blog, she shares how the evening went and why she was inspired to fundraise for us.

I decided to organise All Sorts because I’d wanted to do an event for charity for a while, just to do a good deed! Whilst researching different charities, I came across Create. I was so glad to find there was an arts-based charity out there doing such important work – it felt like the perfect fit for the kind of event I wanted to organise.

I have always loved organising things, even down to planning trips and parties when I was younger, and wanted to use that skill on a bigger scale and for a good cause! I’ve met so many interesting and talented people through various avenues and thought I could put some of those people together to create an incredible evening of entertainment.

Organising the event went very smoothly! The venue, The Star of Kings in Kings Cross, was super helpful and did a fantastic deal on the hire price as it was for charity. They were also so good with letting us bring in cakes and getting in early for some acts to rehearse. All my acts were easy going and very reliable, and Create was a great support. So my only stress was worrying about if people would actually come to the event!

We sold out and had to add standing tickets so the night was a great success! It was such a wonderful celebration of the arts and I was really overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity, not only with their hard earned cash (for the ticket to the event, our raffle and cakes!) but also with their support. It was a really warm, welcoming audience for our incredible acts.

The event was made up of musicians, comedians and poets. They are all so talented and I am so grateful to them for giving up their time. The acts included Sheila Atim, an actor and singer-songwriter currently starring in Girl from the North Country at London’s Old Vic theatre, comedy duo Bosh & Babbs, who’ve been described as “the new French & Saunders”, “fiercely impressive” stand-up comedian Sarah Callaghan, and many more!

I had such a good evening watching talented friends that I don’t know how to pick just a few highlights. Certainly finding out how much money we had raised for Create was one, and the reaction from the audience was very special. Performing with my lovely sketch group Buttery Brown Monk was a joy as always – oh and the Spice Girls singalong with Sheila of course!

Create’s cause of empowering disadvantaged and vulnerable people through the creative arts really resonates with me. Having always had the arts as a big part of my life from a very young age, I’ve seen first-hand the power it can have – and not only in terms of entertainment, although we all need our spirits lifted after long days or at difficult times. I used to teach drama to young children and it was amazing seeing extremely shy children, who found it hard even to leave their mum’s side in the first session, slowly gain in confidence, become better communicators and begin sharing their ideas with the other children. 

I think Create’s work is so important, particularly as funding for the arts continues to be cut. It is so upsetting to know the benefits of the arts and creativity and realise that people may not be exposed to these for reasons outside of their control. I’ve been lucky enough to have incredible teachers, from when I took GCSE drama to my Postgraduate Diploma in Acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. They opened up a whole new world of creativity for me and I cannot thank them enough for giving me a bag of tools to enter the industry with. I am so grateful for all the work I’ve done so far, like teaming up with Sam Buttery and Ryan Brown to create our sketch group Buttery Brown Monk and being part of BAFTA Award winning CBBC series Class Dismissed.

Being creative has so many benefits – for me it really helps with stress and negative emotions. It’s so good for my mental health: from something simple like using an adult colouring book or moulding something silly from playdough to attending a dance class can really make a big difference to my mood. Being able to express myself is something I will never take for granted. It’s an opportunity everyone deserves.

Jamie-Rose Monk