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Meet our Winner!- Milly Cleary

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

On the 15th of September, it was announced that Milly Cleary was the winner of the “THE TIME IS NOW!” Poetry Slam Competition. We were able to catch up with Milly after her victory, which we were able to get a deeper look into how she created her winning poem. Now re-titled “The Facade”.

Image: David Burke, 'The Facade'.

What was your experience like working with Not So Nice on this


"Working with the ‘Not So Nice!’ team felt extremely professional and I continue to be amazed at how far they have come in such a short amount of time. They allowed me to have a say in the approach for ’The Facade’, to which I responded with a preference of having someone who has experienced mental health to be apart of the creation for this piece. Performed by the talented David Burke, my requests had been taken into consideration and the team definitely did the poem justice! I am excited to work with this team in future projects."

How long have you been writing poetry?

"I started writing poetry from as young as 15. At the time, I found it hard to express how I was truly feeling, which progressed into not understanding my own emotions, until one day, feeling angered and frustrated by the double standards of the world, I wrote a poem about the injustices of being a 15 year old girl with a voice that no one would listen to."

Image: Milly Cleary

"I use my poetry to journal my journey with mental health and advocate of spreading awareness through my art. 'Playing Sane' Theatre Company specialises in working with actors suffering or experiencing mental illness and I would really recommend to check their work out."

"In the words of Konstantin Stanislavski “ Bring yourself to the part of taking hold of a role, as if it were your own life. Speak for your character in your own person.” I’d like to think that quote applies to all art projects I’m involved in, whether that be poetry, performances or paintings."

Image: David Burke

What do you think made your poem stand out ?

I believe 'The Façade' stood out for a few reasons, the exceptional acting and directing being one. This poem was brutally honest and written with both pain and confusion. I think people admire something they can relate too and something that is pure in its honesty. 1 in 4 people will experience mental health in their lifetime. However, the negative stigma attached to mental health, makes it difficult to talk about the reality of having mental illness and the negative outlook on life that it can have. By using those emotions in 'The Façade', perhaps people could connect to the poem due to the emotional sensitivity of the writing and acting in the performance of ‘The Facade’.

When I first submitted 'The Façade' to the 'Not so Nice!' theatre team, I didn’t want

my name to be attached to the poem. However, the more I read the poem and saw how it was developed into such an amazing piece, I found myself asking ‘why I didn’t want to be associated with the poem?’ The truth is, I was embarrassed that this is how I felt. Then I saw this trend on social media which has a voice over that states when you show your comfortable with yourself (body or mind) is encourages another woman to be comfortable with herself, and the more I thought about that trend, I wanted others to know that it’s okay to feel like that, but it’s not okay to let it destroy you.

Any advice you would give someone who wants to start writing poetry?

"I would say the best advice I can give is to be truthful with yourself when writing poetry, let that inner monologue run wild and get creative with it. Art comes in all forms, write about hard topics, things that are hard to say to people and utilise that in your work. I find that when I am brutally honest with my thoughts and feelings

I write better poetry and as I grow my poetry does too, which is helpful to look back on, as a journey through different chapters in my life, who knows maybe one day I can use it for my memoir."

What is your favourite part about writing poetry?

"My favourite part about writing poetry is definitely the first read out loud. Hearing your words flow together and it automatically having the rhythm of a song is very satisfying and self- fulfilling."

What’s next for you in regard to writing and the world of theatre?

“Although I have been writing poetry for a while, I still feel like a newbie at writing. My next steps in regards to writing and the world of theatre is to develop my poetry skills and continue writing poetry about hard topics.”

“I am currently building an art portfolio website where I will continue posting poetry along-side past performances, paintings and art in all forms. Plus I will continue to spread awareness on topics like mental health,

feminism, sexual assault and racial injustice.”

Image: Milly Cleary

The ‘Not So Nice!’ Team really loved working on Milly’s winning poem and we can’t wait to see what Milly comes up with next.

If you want to check out 'The Facade' please head to our ‘Previous Productions’ section on our website or check out our Instagram and Facebook for more content by ‘Not So Nice!’ Theatre Company.

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