1990-08-01 14:12:25


Welcome to the backstory to DRIFTWOOD. I hope this gives you good idea of what to expect from my process of presentation coaching. I have not included every gig and project here, but it should give you good idea. Finally, I would add that this is entirely me, what I have learnt and the people have become a part of my life. Enjoy.

1994-09-02 14:12:25

An eclectic career begins

Began Theatre Studies Ba (hons) at Huddersfield University. It is the one regret on the whole journey that I never completed the course. But who knows what the outcome would have been if I had chosen a different path.

1995-10-20 15:00:24

The Changeling

My first outing as a sound man for a University production of the Changeling. I shared the box with the 3rd Year tech Phil who ran the lighting. One of the most important lessons I learned was that when you are hanging by a harness 60 feet above the auditorium, focussing a 2 kilowatt lantern, don't let the chain round your neck touch the bulb housing so that the conducted heat starts to melt your neck. Happy days.

1996-09-02 14:12:25


Whilst at University I promoted a night which involved circus acts, DJs, live music and improvised theatre. From the this FuR - Community Arts was born. We were a ramshackle collective of performers, writers and musicians. Over the next three years we ran nights all over West Yorkshire and performed at events in Newcastle, Glastonbury, The Norther Green Gathering and Womad..

1997-03-11 13:44:48

Graduation Piece

I was asked to play the part of a New York detective in a graduation piece for one of the Theatre Students. Duska (full name Dusanka), had written a short play about the life of Picasso. She had introduced the detective as a narrative device to explore the artists misadventures. I was tutored by an American actor who was very complimentary about my East Coast drawl. I think watching all those US cops shows as a kid might have helped.

1997-06-20 15:50:45


FuR booked to take part in the Saturday night fire show. We provided three jugglers and two fire breathers, one of which was yours truly.

1998-08-26 10:29:40

Atomic Bong

Our resident band with FuR were the irrepressible Atomic Bong - formerly Bubbling Vessel. They were a Dewsbury based dub reggae outfit and I was honoured to have been their sound man for a couple of years. MIck & Phil Bailey are still making music today. Old School through and through.

1999-02-13 23:10:39

The End of an Era

After three years of running events on a shoe string and travelling the length of the country in less than ideal vehicles, held together with rust and hope, FuR came to an end. Our last gig was Woodman Stock at the now derelict, but then superb Woodman Inn in Hebden Bridge. we put on acts from all over the country, including Bang to Rights, The Rhythmites and Mandragora. I dropped out of Uni to do it, but what an education it was. The following year my first child was born.

1999-09-14 23:10:39

The Lab Project

After FuR ended and people inevitable moved away, I found myself writing once more, and being drawn back towards the theatre. I wrote a ridiculously complicated play with roughly 22 characters and set in a lunatic asylum. It was basically an account of everything that we had been doing over the last three years. I found a theatre company in Huddersfield and took it to them. The woman in the office took one look at the script and said, "That's great, but would you like to take part in a training programme with us. The Lab Project trained people on low wages to deliver creative workshops in schools. Even though I had been doing what I refer to as community arts, these guys had some really flashy stuff, like insurance, and plans and health and safety. I was now becoming a semi pro! The LAB Project was then run by Proper Job Theatre, who were later taken over by Thalia Theatre, who I worked with in Blackburn a few years later. Its a small old world in the Arts.

1999-09-14 23:10:39


The National Student Drama Festival is a big deal for HE and FE institutions. The finals are held every year at the Stephen Joseph theatre in Scarborough. I wrote my first play as an entry, which did not make the finals, but was submitted and performed locally. I had used some of the characters from the lunatic piece of work I had taken to Proper Job Theatre in Huddersfield. As a result of this I was also introduced to a wonderful old luv named Dougie Hankin, who was at the time a dramaturgist and voice tutor at the much celebrated Bretton Hall. Dougie invited me along to talk to his students about the writing process and the writer/director relationship. This was my first ever seminar, and I found that I not only enjoyed performing, but presenting also was well within my skill set.

1999-09-14 23:10:39

Back to School

With a new baby boy in the family, and no work forthcoming, I was offered training opportunity. My partner at the time was under the impression that I was going to do something like plumbing or painting or decorating at the local college. Imagine her surprise when I announced that I would be studying Performing Arts for the next year. However, on the course, I met Neil Horsfield, who was an absolute inspiration to me. He had worked on Peter Brook style performances in South African mining towns in the seventies, and was theatre through and through. I was introduced to Keith Johnstone, my improv hero, and Viola Spolin. I studied Brook, Stanislavsky, Artaud, Grotowsky and Brecht. I was in love once more.

1999-09-14 23:10:39

Sovereign Rings

For the next year's NSDF festival I wrote a second play. The first had been called Sing a Song of Sixpence and used the device of stories in stories to take the audience deeper and deeper into a constructed reality. Sovereign Rings and Superkings used this same device, but felt far more refined. I was earning a craft and getting to grips with managing multiple voices and environments.

1999-09-28 16:27:29

Poems Laddy/!

I had now left college and was beginning to pick up the odd job here and there doing some community arts stuff. However, it always seemed to be visually based. Although I am quite able to work with 2D visual mediums, it is the spoken word that has always been my go to creative form. I saw an advert for a creative writing group in Hebden Bridge, where I was now living. It was run by John Lyons, a poet, sax player and keen cook. In fact I bought a copy of his book, "Cook up in a Trinnie Kitchen." Which was a recipe book of all his mums Trinidadian recipes, coupled with musings on Jazz and the odd poem thrown in for good measure. John was one of those people who could light up a room just by walking into it. He had a posture and energy that just exuded creativity and self control. Wonderful man. Anyway, long story short, I started writing quite a bit.

2000-06-02 05:24:52

The Java Lounge

The Java Lounge was a double fronted cafe in the centre of town. This was the venue for my very first spoken word gig. Some friends from college had come along and I was a little nervous. Employing the age old technique of drinking heavily before a show, I took the stage as a kind of bumbling but affable fool. Mike Hancock later described my style as bitter sweet. I think this is fair, and pretty much what I do. The first gig went down a storm, and the performance poet who would become known as Fatty Apron was born.

2000-10-25 22:14:15

Cabaret Heaven

Cabaret Heaven are a collective of performers and artistes originally from the Leeds area. The organiser, Mike, was also a regular father at the play group I took my son to. I had just recently started performing as a poet, and Mike asked if I would like to come to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, and do a turn. Why not, sounds like fun.

2001-10-01 10:17:56

Chloe Poems

Chloe Poems, the Gingham was the creation of poet and playwright, Gerry Potter. As part of the show there was an open mic spot, which I threw myself at every week. We did a couple of gigs together in Hebden and Stockport off the back of this and I still have the utmost respect for Gerry's work.

2002-01-01 05:15:29

Community Artist

You would be surprised at how little financial power you wield as a performance poet. It is not a lucrative industry - or at least it wasn't then. Therefore, like thousands of artists before me, I turned to providing creative learning to schools, youth clubs, local councils and third sector projects.

2002-09-01 16:20:24

The Fool & The King

I wrote the Fool & the King as part of Sing A Song of Sixpence (my first play.) It is written in free verse quatrains and is in the style of a folk tale. It was performed in a room above a cafe, along with original artwork by Lisa Kilty. I wanted to create a fully immersive experience, and so, when there was a banquet in the Story, so food ws brought out for the audience, so that they became a part pdf the performance whilst being the audience at the same time. Of all the things I have done, this is the one that I most want to develop further.

2002-11-13 00:38:26

Open Mic Surgery

The open Mic Surgery ran for 14 years and saw some fantastic acts through the doors. I cannot take too much credit. Josh and Mabe did a huge amount of work, and the likes of Mick West and Paul Weatherhead provided regular entertainment. My part was right at the beginning. A group of four of us needed some space to rehearse some theatre ideas we wanted to work on. The Landlady of the Stubbing Wharf Pub, Hebden Bridge told us that we could use the upstairs room for free, if we could help them get some music events going there. We never did get round to doing any rehearsals, but from this happy accident the Open Mic Surgery was born. At its height we were getting players from Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds as well as home grown talent, and we were even featured on BBC R2.

2004-02-01 12:20:52

Mental Health

Approximately five years after writing a piece of absurdist theatre based in a psychiatric hospital I found myself working in one. I had been working with vulnerable young people as a community artist and did not feel that I had the skills to work in such a complex environment. So I took a job as an activity co-ordinator on an adult unit in Halifax. Up until now I had been a writer and performer. I learned a great deal on the ward, mostly from the patients, who were mostly lovely people to know. I even wrote a song about it. I got know the Occupational Therapists very well, and it was a wonderful woman called Kathy who convinced me that I should do my training. So I did.

2005-01-01 22:17:45

Fatty Apron

Now that I had established myself, I started performing at events all over the local area. Around this time, Cabaret Heaven opened a second night in Hebden Bridge itself, at which I was given a residency as House Poet, and eventually DJ as well. Which is how I met one of my best friends, Mr Daz Jones.

2006-09-01 12:00:28

Meaningful Occupations

I began my course at Bradford University to qualify as an Occupational Therapist. This was my first taste of a truly professional environment, and very different to my first experience of higher education. At Huddersfield I would sit smoking in my tutors office as we discussed the purity of a candle on a stage, or go drinking with them at the Vulcan on St Peters Street. This, however, was clinical training, and not so bohemian. During this time we were visited by a Japanese-Canadian Professor named Michael Iwama, who had come to talk about a new model of practice. This model used a river as a metaphor to explore a person's "lived experience." The Kawa Model, as it is called, has become one of the most significant pieces of learning in my life. I have been a contributor to its development and presented my findings a world congress in 2014. I still use the Kawa Model today, and at the time of writing, I have plans to develop it as a coaching tool.

2006-12-14 00:35:53

The Dumb Waiters

This was a three hander cabaret piece that was written by Myself and John Banfiled - a graduate of the East 15 Acting School. It included poetry, songs, magic, escapology and the destruction of quite a few guitars and drums. One night only!

2008-07-17 05:54:30

Heptonstall Festival

On a slightly damp Sumer morning a group of men began putting up a marquee and filling it with music equipment. This was the first Heptonstall Festival and I was given the honour of compering the whole thing. I went on to compere the next two years. Heptonstall Festival is still going strong and has grown significantly since its humble beginnings.

2009-06-11 04:55:53

Handmade Parade

The Handmade Parade has been running for over a decade now, and I am proud to say I have been a part of it from the start. I have had a couple of years out, but it is a regular street show that I hate to miss.

2009-10-14 05:54:30


I worked at the Centre for Public Policy Seminars as a seminar manager, researcher and occasional chair of events. I think the highlight of my time there was accidentally playing footsie with Baroness Varsi as I chaired a Culture & Diversity Seminar.

2012-05-04 05:37:39

The Obfuscating Noise Projector

I did quite a bit of content creation for Mark Davey and the DAM Foundation. This was the most complex piece we worked on. I directed between the animator and her staff and the artist who rendered the original concept.

2012-11-16 04:55:53


The Lamplighter festival is a spin off from the Handmade Parade. It has now become one of the highlights of the year for Todmorden. My role is usually to provide walkabout acts or compering.

2012-11-16 04:55:53

Kawa Creative

Kawa Creative was my own development tool for the Kawa Model. It began as a blog and eventually evolved into an Arts in Health Social Enterprise. We delivered creative projects in adult mental health settings.

2014-06-19 04:55:53


After six years of development, the Kawa Model finally returned home at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists World Congress in Yokohama, Japan. I delivered presentations at the congress and at the Kawa Model Symposium at Tokyo University, which was live streamed globally.

2014-08-15 05:09:07

STAMP Festival

The STAMP festival is a huge street festival held in Hamburg every year. I went there with Thingamujig Theatre who I have performed with on many occasions and continue to work with.

2015-04-16 06:49:08

Bradford University

As well as delivering presentations at Salford University on the Kawa Model I also guest lectured at the Bradford University Occupational Therapy Department.

2015-07-18 05:09:07

Eden Festival

Walkabout act at one of the Scottish Festivals.

2015-08-28 05:09:07


Walkabout and Tech support at one of the UKs best live event weekends.

2016-07-01 21:52:16

Winston Plowes

In 2015 I began working as a school librarian. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. In my opinion, everyone should work in a library just once. Learning to manage data, information, databases, cataloguing and customer service is a fantastic grounding for just about any career these days. As part of the library programme I organised visited from writers and artists. One of these was my good friend, Poet , Winston Plowes. We devised some truly wonderful projects that engaged and inspired our young poets.

2017-10-22 06:49:08

Blunt Force Trauma

On the 22nd October 2017 I suffered a traumatic brain injury. The injury cost me the job that I loved and put a huge strain on all of my relationships. To try and make sense of the situation I fell back on my writing and performing. I created a piece called Blunt Force Trauma which was performed once at the Hebden Bridge Inter Arts Festival. Off the back of this piece of writing I created David Nixon Writing as way creating an income. I suffered post trauma anxiety, and struggled for many months. However, from this event I began making steps towards the entity that has become Driftwood.

2018-02-20 00:59:09

A New Ending

After a while copywriting and creating content for local businesses, I decided to start building the business and look for opportunities further afield. My networking led me to a meeting with Ron Maycock, a trainer and growth specialist with Action Coach. I told him about some of my ideas for public speaking training based on my experience in the performing arts. Ron liked the sound of this and I had accidentally bumped into someone who would take from self employment to a vision of my life's work.

2019-02-14 03:29:02

Matthew Burgess

I connected with Matthew via linkedin. We seemed to click over our creative use of language and metaphor. After a couple of Skype calls, Mattew very generously offered me some coaching sessions at a fee that I could afford. Matthew helped me to identify the importance of choosing a business development process that was 'Davish' in nature. He recognised my potential and saw the unique qualities I am able to bring to my own practice. To this day, when confronted with new opportunities, I ask my self three questions: What is the Risk? What is the Potential? What is the Davishness? I consider Matthew a friend and colleague who gave me a steer when I was striving for a focus.

2019-04-12 18:16:34


Unfortunately the head injury that had been such a powerful catalyst for positive change in my life, fired one last hurtful shot into my life. The pressure of managing the situation finally became too much for my wife and I and in Easter 2019 we separated. I moved to Greater Manchester, where I established;ished a network and found a whole new scene to get involved with. So the story is not over - far from it. In some ways it is just beginning, because I aim now embarking on projects that have been waiting for years to become active. To find out just what I am up to at the moment, take a look at the website, or you can contact me at info@davidnixonwriting.com.

2019-07-21 06:49:08


Which brings us up to right now. As I sit typing the entries for this timeline, it amazes me at how it all seems to fit together. Everything was always kneading to this point, and it could not have happened any other way. In the Kawa Model, driftwood (Ryuboku) represents the attributes and experiences that you carry with you through life. This is the sum of all of my experiences over the last 25 years, brought together in a way that makes sense, and will be useful to you. Now, we carry on.

2020-02-20 22:48:42

In the beginning.

This is the end of this timeline. It is here to show you where I am coming from and why I work the way I do. Basically I want all my students and clients to take these skills and make them their own, so that their careers can soar. With these techniques you will find a confidence and passion that was always within you.

2020-04-23 16:48:51


To catch up with what is going on right now, visit my website. You can find out about my training work, the Driftwood Project and my online products. I look forward to seeing you there.


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