In January 2015, following a routine check by my vigilant GP, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

As a Brit living in Sydney, Australia since 2008, I realised over the following days just how many of my friends and family were scattered across the globe and different timezones.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets was originally just a tremendous pun and the title of a closed Facebook group I created to keep those distant friends and family in the loop and worry-free.

But over 12 months, my little group somehow grew from 80 to 800+ and became a veritable band of brothers, a support team like no other and a true Fellowship in every sense of the word.

Their love, laughter and rallying cries have been the greatest tonic a little ringlet'd cancer-face like me could have wished for.

The following letters, musings, incoherent ramblings and occasional bouts of bad language are for them all.

Welcome to the Fellowship of the Ringlets.

VC x

Monday 27 March 2017


Dear Fellowship

So this just happened. My little coffin play 'Come Die With Me' just got picked for a new writing night in Hackney in London Town on 28th March! 
I need to, somewhat hilariously, now provide them with a headshot (will me drinking an espresso martini do, I wonder?) and some blurb about what I've written before - not sure a sixth form panto, a chapter of a digital marketing book and a cancer blog are what they'll be expecting...

UPDATE: 13th March
'Come Die With Me' just selected as one of four to be staged at Spotlight UK in the West End on April 10th. And apparently, my actors and I will be getting paid for this one! Woop! 
Hang on, does this mean I get to say that I've had a play on in the West End? Yay!


UPDATE #2: 27th March

'Come Die With Me' has been chosen to feature in Little Pieces of Gold's prestigious short play night at Southwark Playhouse on 23rd April. In their 200-seater venue (gulp). 



VC x

Monday 20 February 2017


Dear Fellowship,

So the last time I wrote a play was in 1991. And it was technically a pantomime. A sixth-form pantomime based very loosely on Cinderella. I wrote it, less because I wanted to write a play and more because everyone else was busy doing other far more boring things, like studying for their A-levels.
Writing a panto with roles for 60 girls (it was an all-girls school before you assume I'd relegated all the lads to 'Boy Sweeping Up in Background #1') was no mean feat but we somehow managed it with some frankly sensational creative thinking on my part. 
Narrative structure was cast aside for dance routines that the Backstreet Boys would be proud of and the writing process consisted mostly of people coming up to me at various points during lunch break , saying 'can you build in a scene where me and my mates can come on and dance to De La Soul / Happy Mondays / Kylie Minogue / Dee-lite etc etc?' and I'd go "Gaaaah! You are all killing my writer's soul. I bet Shakespeare never had to deal with this many requests!" and then I'd obligingly write the scene anyway. It remains one of the very worst and very best things I've ever written and I still can't watch the video of it without crying with laughter...
So that was then. And this is now. And a mere 26 years later, with a few more life experiences under my belt and 4 months after starting my M.A in Playwriting, I saw my first proper short play performed on stage last week. In public. With proper actors and an audience and applause and EVERYTHING. And it was kinda fun. Buttock-clenchingly terrifying and utterly exhausting but total fun. It's called 'Come Die With Me'. I do love a pun, me.
Despite the cheery title, it's not about cancer. I've been trying to half-heartedly write the cancer play but it isn't happening and to be honest, I've seen about three cancer plays in the last few months and one was a musical so as much as it's tempting to write a cancer panto, I figure the market for cancer plays is fairly saturated right now. My tutor is very fond of saying 'Why this play? why now?' and much as I'm always tempted to go 'huh? Because, like, deadlines?', she has a point. 
So instead, I wrote a short play about my dad, hired a coffin from The National Theatre, accidentally cast an Aussie, a Swede (the country, not the vegetable) and a Londoner who couldn't have looked less like each other to play a mother, brother and sister, closed my eyes and hoped no one would walk out. 

And it went ok, I think. 
Thanks to the hapless pals and family who gave up their Tuesday and Wednesday night to trek over to North London and laugh / cry in all the right places. And thanks to my tight team of trusted readers who patiently read every tearstained draft (there were 12) I sent them over Christmas when they were trying to open their presents, entertain their kids and drink vats of festive sherry. 

And sorry to those that I STILL haven't caught up with, despite being back for six months now. I am essentially a wild-haired recluse sitting in my pants, desperate for inspiration to strike until September 2017 so don't take it personally... :)
VC x

Wednesday 4 January 2017


Dear Fellowship,

"No change". Words you may not want to hear from a grumpy cab driver at 3am but definitely words to be grateful for following my second annual mammogram this arvo. Phew. :):)
New country, new specialists, whole new supply of ears to bend and minds to numb with dull cancer chat but pleased to confirm that the familiar buzz of the old boob-crushing machine remains the same, as does the British awkwardness of being manhandled boob-first into a fancy sandwich press by a total stranger. Good times. 
So all is well and I press on into another year 'cancer-freeeeee' (fingers crossed, touchwood etc etc) - happily, one year further away from the whole cancer shmozzle and sadly, less able by the day to legitimately refuse to do press-ups or rowing at the gym because "I've had cancer and a bad arm". Damn. 
The good news is that I've invested in a desk, got a desk lamp from my sister for Christmas, have gone crazy for coloured Post-Its and am constantly wearing a scarf that weighs more than I do so I'm pretty much killing it on the whole student front. To be honest, if I had a shiny Canon Starwriter on my desk instead of a Mac, I'd swear it was 1995 all over again.

As it is, I've just finished my first 3,000 word assignment since 1995 (it's on black comedy - seemed appropriate) and now only have a short play to polish, a TV pitch to write and three scenes to re-hash in the next ten days. Good Lord. Cue hysterical teenage tears followed by long, calming, procrastination-friendly dog walks...

So on that note, I must be off to stare blank-faced once more at my weary laptop whilst absent-mindedly chomping my way through an entire festive tin of Quality Street. It's always Christmas in VC's house when Tesco has those bad boys on special offer...
Wishing you all a very happy 2017! Am also braced and ready for the beach and sun shots to come at me so do your worst, my smug-faced, suntanned Aussie pals... :):)

VC x