When I joined the ‘Get the Chance’ team (reviewing live theatre and performance as a network of ‘community critics’), I wasn’t fully aware I’d be getting Spice Time Credits in return and quite surprised to receive them! I had some previous awareness that Time Credits were something people got ‘out there in the community’ – perhaps for doing voluntary work at a local community project or initiative. I had no idea you could actually receive time credits for writing and reviewing live theatre. I hadn’t thought of myself as ‘volunteering my time’ as I already kind of felt like I had won the lottery doing something I loved doing anyway. If you are part of a wider conversation, helping to increase accessibility and creating more knowledge and awareness of the arts for all – you too are a volunteer, an ambassador and a cheerleader. You’re using your skills and strengths to break down barriers and act as a bridge between theatres and non-traditional or possibly first time theatre goers and I’m really glad that Spice recognises this.
The great thing about Spice is that they are a form of currency: a way of trading your time to get a sort of ‘passport’ to do the things you love. If money is an issue, this doesn’t matter, you can use time credits for anything from local leisure services to high-brow theatre. They can travel with you – I’m off to London on the Megabus next week. I may decide to spend the time credits I earned writing about Welsh theatre to take in a show at the Barbican with my hubby. I’m on a budget weekend, but I won’t let that stop me! Time Credits makes this possible and they’re recognised all over the UK, which is great! So far I have used my time credits to spend an afternoon with my daughter jumping and running wild at ‘Jump’ play centre in Llanishen and I’ve spent several lovely afternoons watching family movies in Chapter Arts Centre with my husband and little girl Lili. Writing about theatre may be ‘my thing’, but I love sharing the time credits with my family for fun (cheap!) afternoons out. They were really handy in the holidays when money was getting tight! Chapter Arts Centre is wonderful when it comes to booking tickets, very family friendly and relaxed. I also like the fact that there’s no in-your face aggressive marketing of overpriced snacks (Which can push your average cinema outings up to £50 or more for some families). Chapter even has a ‘no munching’ rule. You’re there for the movies and good vibes anyway, not stuffing your face full of crisps and chocolate (plus if you really need a feed: use the lovely Chapter cafe!). Quite a few times over the last few months, my family and I have driven to Chapter, parked for free, used our time credits to pay for a family movie then taken a walk in the park afterwards. You don’t need to spend big money to make memories, but it helps if you have a few time credits in your pocket!