"They were beautiful experiences and they helped me develop the confidence needed to stay in the arts which isn’t always the easiest or the most affluent of lifestyles. It gave me the courage of my conviction, a special vision. It was about being part of excellence, excitement and being close to the real thing, and it led naturally to going abroad to study, and to internationalism. When I became a writer the first thing I did was work in health and social care. For me the notion of community and usefulness came from my time at Britten Pears Arts."