Reece and I have been talking about our values a lot as we’ve launched REcreate over the last week, but these just aren’t fun social media posts, they’re things we truly value and try to live by. So today I want to tell you a story about Reece and how his commitment to those values has been life changing for me.
Reece and I met on China Plate’s excellent The Optimists course in the heady days of Feb 2020. I remember the exact moment I knew we’d be friends – we were nearly hit by a bus crossing the road and descended into fits of giggles. When Covid shut everything down I reached out to him when I needed help with an Emergency ACE bid for The Good Enough Mums Club (GEMC).
We worked so well together we brought him on board GEMC as Associate Producer. Then we discovered he only lived a 15 minute bike ride away, so as soon as we were allowed to bubble we had co-working days together. If you’ve ever worked with Reece, you know what a delight this is.
One day a week turned into two, work turned into stay for dinner, that turned into let’s go for lots of what ended up being called ‘Beecher Walks’. We laughed, worked hard, I cried a couple of times and he won Maisie over with Nintendo Switch and Monopoly card games.
In December Maisie and I went to visit him at New Diorama to say goodbye before he left to see his family in York for Christmas. By the time we’d got home, Boris had locked us down again. Reece hadn’t ever not been home for Christmas but now if he was going to have to spend Christmas in London he was obviously going to spend it with us. So he moved into our flat for the holidays and together we had a brilliant time doing puzzles, dancing in the kitchen and eating an obscene amount of cheese.
Throughout this time we were working to form REcreate, we established our values, based on the things we truly believe will make this industry better. Now here’s the thing, those values aren’t random words, they’re things Reece lives. Which brings us to life changing.
This week we’re producing an R&D of Denise Harrison’s new play Pandora in Cornwall. As a single mum this is exactly the kind of work I’ve been turning down for almost 12 years. There is no way I can juggle being away for a week with being a mum – I just don’t have the support to make it happen. So when we were talking about how we were going to make this work, because Reece needs to be in London for work so he couldn’t go, he said, without a moment’s hesitation, ‘well I’ll just move into yours and take care of Maisie that week’ and that was that. 12 years of barriers wiped out in an instant. Not out of pity, or with reluctance, but because he leads with kindness, generosity and joy, and those things lead to inclusion.
So this week while I’ve been R&D-ing in sunny Newquay, Reece has been on parent duty for a kid that is not his (although he’s apparently renamed her Cecil). This support not only unlocks the potential for me to participate in opportunities previously inaccessible to me but now it also enables me to do my best work and to support others to do the same.
I just want to say to Reece, thank you for being my confidant, champion, producer, business partner, bestie,and future housemate. You’re the best, thank you for living our values and for making me, my life and my career, better.