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5 minutes with Victoria Curtis

"I pretended to be Red Riding Hood with my woollen Red hooded coat"

Today we welcome into the interview room someone very special, Victoria Curtis, Hello Victoria!

Well, let's begin by telling our readers a bit about who you are and what you do.

How long have you been involved in the industry and how did you get into it?

I began dancing at the age of 10. I was quite frustrated as young girl who loved music. I watched any programmes with dancing involved because it mesmerised me and allowed me to follow what was happening. Put it this way, it was easier than trying to follow a film. I began to move with the vibrations of the music and having being taught gymnastics I used the elegance of its movements to begin exploring my body in the environment. I was always dancing at home and lucky me living on a farm up in the Ceredigion mountains means I could blast the stereo. I was serious sports woman up until my riding accident in 1998. It was only when I went to college after 2006 that I truly became serious about the entertainment industry, which I found a whole new challenge and concept compared with competing in sports. For one thing there are no clocks!

Victoria, you are seen as a great inspiration to many people due to the fact you are actually deaf, how did you first find the confidence to step into the world of entertainment knowing you have a disability. Do you think you were treated any different by the people working with you?

Me an inspiration? If you had asked me that when I'd first began dancing, I would probably have fobbed you off as being a sympathetic patronising person. I certainly did not feel that way back then. I spent most of my time working so hard to prove that despite being deaf I could dance and fit in, all I saw was sweat and tears. The only time I felt free was on the stage, not having to try and fit in or communicate badly with other people. I tried to join a dance group at my school but they made it very clear that I was unwanted and definitely cramped their image. So I began dancing on my own and my school entered me in solo competitions, where I excelled through all the quarter and semi finals into the national welsh championships.At home the family referred me as the drama queen, I had always wanted to act and study drama but again I was so scared and intimidated by the bullies I chose to not go. I was spotted by a professional dance tutor who gave me a couple of one to one sessions - she showed a great interest and we danced creatively together for two hours that gave me the will to continue dancing when I moved away to Milton Keynes in 1994. I remained a dancer and show-jumper for a number of years but I have always written poetry and stories too. I loved literature as a way to escape from the hardships of reality. Coming to MK was a shock for me, I was bullied so bad that I had to quit my A levels after all my work was stolen whilst I was assist coaching swimming. I later trained as a riding instructor and taught children how to ride until I was involved in a riding accident and had to resign. Things were very bleak. It was only when I went MK college and re-discovered myself. I studied hard having fantastic help using notetakers to allow me to finally follow the subjects. I was in awe. They encouraged me to go to University, me? I applied and got in for Drama and English and it was there when I really began to fall in love with Theatre, film and literature. I wrote plays, short stories (one which was asked to be entered for GRANTA magazine in London called Streets of London). Now despite my years of isolation as a dancer it has paid off. I realised that people were inspired in both worlds (deaf and hearing) I realised the children were given hope that they too can pursue their dreams and so I hope I maintain giving them that hope. I was lucky, I have a lovely family who always gave me hope and support.

We go through ups and downs in life, how do you manage to stay positive and deal with any negativity thrown towards you?

My coping mechanisms were writing, dancing and riding horses. These were ways of venting my frustration. When I ride the horses there is a great sense of unity and the motion is stimulating calm. Nothing better than a good gallop knowing the horse may spook and you could slip out the sidedoor (in other words fall off to the side).

It seems true that the best writers are melancholic, which I have to agree! I write more when I am melancholic than I do being content. Although since going to University I have now learned how to write in both states of mind- thank goodness. If you suffer to maintain balance in your life I urge anyone to record it and reflect on them later, you will soon realise how far you have come from that dark place and find yourself less like going back there again. "No experience good or bad is wasted if you learn from them."

If you could give some advice to budding Directors/writers what advice would it be? Especially to those feel they may be singled out due to a disability.

Some people often had a dream and often result elsewhere in their lives because of such obstacles.

I urge you to perhaps face them with a different thought - are these here to help me learn more as oppose to hindering me? I never thought I would be invited to walk along the red carpet and this year I did at the National Movie Awards. I saw the work behind the scenes, especially the floor production manager and this only made me want to do this line of work even more.

My first dream at the age of 5 was performing. I pretended to be Red Riding Hood with my woollen Red hooded coat and performed in the dining room after begging my parents to watch, I forgot my lines (can't remember what I had made up then). When I reflect on that moment I remember so clearly at this present time, I know I am getting back to that dream.

I remember hyperventilating before going on stage for first time a speaking role, because I cannot hear my voice or my cues from others and so the thought of speaking on stage was by worst the scariest experience of my life. I had several friends and my facilitator sticking a bag over my mouth and calming me down, it hindered my performance. Rather than run away, I took on a module at University of Northampton Actor and Text which forced myself to recite Shakespeare's monologues and a duologue, after intense work and coaching I impressed a wonderful professional actor Peter from London who assessed us all and got an impressive B+ grade with a forwarded compliment to my lecturer Ian Spiby who believed in me. I am still nervous but at least I don't hyperventilate as much.

So far in your career, who has been the most influential person you have met?

My goodness me that is a tough one! The man who had helped me decide to go back to college. He was actually Rutgar Hauer. I met him in Milton Keynes and because I knew the horses and stunt men from his film LadyHawk we spoke about Pee Wee Rutgar's favourite horse (now retired) we soon talked about acting and dreams and of course his charity abroad. He urged me to give it a shot, he said your an inspiration and he was glad to have met me. All I can say was my dad standing nearby was grinning ear to ear. I went to college! This was reinforced by the cast from Midsummers' night's dream at the Globe in London so here I am pursuing the world of theatre and film.

Where would you like to see your career take you? What is your ultimate goal?

My goal? To be a writer and at times a director for theatre and film of course. My biggest dream is to develop a new style of theatre that will gel the deaf and hearing culture as an audience. I have found the genres need a little shaking up. Remark television are interested in my developing a new project so I will

Please tell our readers in your own words, what they need to do to in order to become successful in the industry.

Get your work out there! Develop skills and give up your time voluntarily proves very rewarding!( oh and funnily enough it often works out less expensive) because people find out who you are and gain trust. It is always about meeting the right people - committed people who are passionate about the same things. If you fail then get back on that horse and find a different route!

Well thankyou very much for talking to us and we wish you all the very best in the future.

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