Preparing for After Lockdown?
Here's What 6 Professional Actors are Currently up to.
What are professional actors doing right now to prepare themselves for after lockdown?
During this lockdown you just have to turn on the TV to see the breath of creative ideas that ordinary programmes have used to continue to engage their audience. So I was curious to find out what professional actors are doing right now to prepare themselves for life after lockdown. Personally this blog has given me the opportunity to reach out to fellow creatives (some of whom are my friends and others I did the old sliding into their dms) to discuss theatre and acting...who wouldn't love that?
Troy Chessman - An award winning actor who has toured Surrey and Hampshire with a focus in educational theatre.
‘I have mountains of scripts that I have acquired over the years, every now and again I pick one up and have a read. I don't consider myself a comedy actor, so I actively avoid the genre. So now I've been brushing up on my comedy!’
‘Self taping is good to practice and build your confidence. I have had to self tape a few times now but I still often feel inadequate about doing it. If you have a repertoire of monologues, why not film them as a self tape? Also you don't need to have top of the range video equipment to self tape. I have done it (and got the job) using my iphone. Maybe you could send it to a friend or someone on your course mate that you trust to get some feedback?’
‘Now is the perfect time to make a plan, what do you want to be doing within the next year? Create a spreadsheet of the agents you want to email or the drama schools you might be interested in. Look them up, research their course/clients and send an email! (Be brave!) Following that, this is perfect time to polish your C.V, keep your showreel up to date and your spotlight/Mandy profile’
‘I'm not the type of actor who sits around waiting for my dream role. If I picture myself playing a certain type of character, I write him. I've been very lucky that I am actually writing my next professional production (which will be hitting the stage in 2021) with a theatre company. This time has allowed me to research and write, ready to take this piece into R&D (research and development) when the lockdown is over.’
‘This one is this most important, LOOK AFTER YOURSELF! As actors, our minds and our bodies are our tools. Try and Keep on top of your physical health but more importantly, your mental health. This said, I am constantly reminding myself, this pandemic is not a test of dedication to the industry. Some days I have no motivation and others I have bursts of creativity that I utilize and take advantage of. So it's o.k if you don't manage to do anything and it's also alright if you do!’
Holly Jane - An up and coming actor, that is due to appear in Hey Joe, a short film that will be released later this year. Her monologue was posted for the The Actors Centre Amplify initiative.
‘So I’ve been watching lots of Q and As with casting directors (Newman studios have been amazing for this) which have been so helpful.'
'I’ve had a couple of 1 on 1s with CDs too which were amazing. I’ve been learning a couple of scripts a week and practicing self taping and also cold reading which has been great to have the time to dedicate to that.’
Hannah West - An award winning actor, as well as a writer, producer and musician.
‘Just before lockdown started I wrote and acted in a short comedy called Love In The Time Of Corona about two people going on a date in the midst of the pandemic.
‘During lockdown I have started my own comedy series called Quaranteam about a group of clones fighting for justice for the self employed. I also created a 2 min film for the Corman challenge about mental health which you can see here.’
‘I am also working hard on updating my website, working on social media stuff and next week will be doing an acting workshop and a 1-1 with a CD. Trying to stay creative and think about how to strategically move forward with my own body of work.’
Clara Stevenson - MGA Academy graduate who was performing in the Effectors on the Royal Caribbean Spectrum cruise ship.
‘For me, trying to keep on top of things includes a daily workout whenever possible and experimenting with songs I wouldn’t otherwise have the time to try! Also watching lots of tv series that I always meant to watch and never got round to. Still lots of other things I want to attempt and learn while we have the time, but for now just taking it slow and enjoying the down time!’
Alyx Nazir - London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) Graduate whose monologue was posted for The Actors Centre Amplify initiative.
‘I am currently writing a play which is keeping me quite busy during the lockdown period and hope to get cracking with producing and directing it once lockdown is over.’
‘I also have been transitioning my acting lessons to online lessons and hope to keep teaching a balance of in person practical ones and online ones post lockdown.’
‘Lastly I think it's important for us actors to keep working on our skills, whether that be through entering monologue challenges like the Actors Centre Amplify, or watching films, theatre, and television and analysing performances and reflecting on our craft.'
Amy Cotter - is in a her final year at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
‘I have been practising a LOT of self-care. Personally I can't even begin to think about my career unless I am in a healthy and happy mindset. My usual mechanisms and saviours are meditation, yoga and writing in whichever form feels right that day. When I have practised these, then I can approach my professional world calm and ready.’
‘I am a total workaholic - I tend to not know what to do with myself without a deadline or a project. I have been keeping myself busy by taking on challenges I come across on Twitter (e.g. 'Theatre Foundry' do some great self tape monologue challenges), writing my own stuff and having a crack at filming that or reading scripts/plays over Zoom with mates.’
‘There isn't much casting and it's currently quiet on the agent front. So I am also trying to stay proactive in contacting people whose work I admire and that I'd like to work with (because who doesn't want to hear that?!) and keeping up to date with what's being produced (that includes watching new shows e.g Normal People, casting by Louise Kiely who is a GENIUS.’
It has been fascinating to find out about the ways in which actors have been honing their craft during this time, as well as being creative in their preparation for after lockdown. They have given me the inspiration to follow in their footsteps, I definitely want to enter a monologue competition and join an online workshop. As up and coming actors, try and give yourself a task to accomplish before the lockdown is over. If you have any other activities you have been doing to help prepare you for life after lockdown, then please leave them in the comments below!
One thing I have learnt through these weeks of isolation, is that even though our industry is renowned to be cut throat, this pandemic has birthed in actors an eagerness to come together and support one another.