This thing : I got an OBE

(And I genuinely waited until it was in the public press last night before I believed it – not sure I still believe it. Imposter syndrome stupidity or not, it feels a bit absurd, and unlikely. Yet …)

And yes, OF COURSE I’m conflicted about the whole monarchy and establishment thing, and OF COURSE I thought about it before saying yes, but I run (with 2 others, was 3, she’s just had her 2nd baby – fun baby!!) an inter/national organisation of utter community and local-led brilliance (Fun Palaces) that works so damn hard to find the funds and support we need to grow as fast as we are growing (growing is great, because so many want to join in) and that is making such a difference despite us all working part time and working like full-timers on the cause … and I am also a council estate/Tokoroa Central kid from the 60s – I didn’t expect ever to make a living from the arts, let alone call myself an ‘artist’, as an actor or director or a writer. So this is an extra. Unexpected. Yay.

My mum would have loved this. I wish my folks were alive to see that their girl (no 7 of 7 kids)  didn’t ‘waste her education’ by becoming an artist … my dad didn’t cry when I came out, but he was devastated when I, first of us all to get a uni education, told him I wanted to be an actor not a lawyer or a teacher. (Because – poor.)

The citation says ‘writer and theatremaker’. I love that the palace and the government had to say theatremaker. That’s new(ish) for them. Unusual. We are making new words to tell the truth of what we do.

I like that my name is listed as the name I made after my wife and I married. Silas Duffy is my official/passport surname. I am under the S’s.  I love that I am listed as my wife’s wife. (As she would be mine, she’s Duffy Silas, obv.)

I am hugely proud to be in the most diverse honours list ever. We can do better yet. The same list is only 47% women. We know that women of colour are noticed less, spotlighted less, we can make more of a shout to make a bigger difference for all women, for all diversity.

And hell yes, it’s not ok. It’s not fixed, it’s not all sorted, there is so much else to do. I’m at work tomorrow, Sunday (actually today, it’s 2am) to keep on doing our best to make positive change, to include more people in everyday creativity, to include more people in engaging with and for their own community, to include more people in believing that culture is all of our entitlement and that it is all of ours to own and to make.

I look forward to doing that vital work with you. Whatever your version of that work is – yours will be different to mine, but we all need to be in it, working towards it, the inclusive, engaged, New Culture that is by, for, with all. Including on Sunday & ‘days off’.

See you there.

Stella xxx