Melissa Todd: Hags Ahoy- remember the name!

Hags Ahoy!

How do you upset an actor? Ask them if they have a proper job too.

It seems obvious now, and I promise I was only trying to be nice, and network, and more importantly, discover if there’s actually money to be made in this playwriting lark. But my clumsy query was not well received. “This IS my proper job” she trilled, testily, before stalking off to eat her mung beans elsewhere. Oops. We’re still going to see her show though, and in a bid to make amends, here’s a flyer for it. It’s at the Brighton fringe next month.

She makes those masks herself. Amazing eh?

Networking isn’t my natural forte. My instinctive relationship to the world is hostile and suspicious. But watch me go, networking like a demon, because my husband and I have formed a theatre company called Hags Ahoy, and that’s my job now. He writes the plays, I flog the plays. He stars in the plays, I flirt with theatre managers until they agree to show the plays and let me flog the play merch in a corner. And so on, ad infinitum.

Husband has spent 30 years writing and acting, performing all over Thanet, and his work is flipping terrific – clever, funny, insightful, truthful. Now he’s left work, he wants to tour, and make a tiny bit of cash if possible. So, while he scribbles I seek out grants and opportunities, learn about contracts and budgets, and then network, teeth gritted. I’ve always felt he deserved a wider audience.


His stories – any stories, well told, truthfully told – have the power to affect lives, give lives meaning. I’m thrilled to be part of it. Thrilled also at the chance to learn something new. I’ve always run businesses, they’ve always made money; I’ve always loved theatre and wanted to be part of it. Most days I’m so ecstatic at the way my life’s going I can scarcely sleep.

Running a business with your spouse can make or break a marriage, they say. So far, it’s going alright, I think, largely because we have such different roles to perform, and also a three storey house. I wouldn’t try it without at least a floor to put between us when we’re sick of each other’s faces. Why, you can barely hear the screams, particularly when your teenage son blasts out the odd helpful guitar riff.


There’s so much to learn and do it’s overwhelming. I have to fool myself into getting on with it. “If I were to do any work this morning”, I think, “rather than, say, faffing about on twitter for hours, what would be the first step?” Usually it’s to find a phone number, and once I’ve done that, I think, I might as well ring it. What a trooper! Man, I hate phones, unless I’m idly scrolling through twitter on them. Yet bravely I force myself into endless awkward phone calls, for I’ve a tour to book.

For art, and money, my twin Gods!

Hags Ahoy. Remember that name. Then you can tell your pals you were there at the beginning, before anyone would do anything for a ticket.

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