Andrew Wright has choreographed for shows all over the world, with his credits including Singin’ in the Rain, Five Guys named Moe, Half A Sixpence, Nativity the Musical and Mrs Henderson Presents. His directing work includes Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Kilworth House, Gypsy at Manchester Royal Exchange and The Witches of Eastwick in Stockholm. I was lucky enough to talk to Andrew about keeping occupied during the lockdown, his hopes for the future of the industry and moving his work online.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole situation?
It’s strange, having all my work cancelled and being at home all the time but it’s kind of a nice break. I have had to take my theatre head off and focus on other things. I came down to my new home in Somerset to do some work on it and haven’t really left it in a month. I’m lucky to have that to keep me occupied and give me something to do. I’ve been doing a lot of work in the garden and enjoying the time outside with my dog Lola.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
Gardening mostly. For me, being outside in the fresh air is very therapeutic and I’m very lucky to be in Somerset with lots of open space. I’ve also been enjoying the online content that is now available. It’s a lot to get used too, suddenly doing meetings online instead of in person but it’s something that we are having to adjust too.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Seeing friends and family face to face, that’s the first thing. But I am looking forward to getting back to work and getting back into a dance studio. It’s so different with everything being online now and whilst it’s amazing that we have the technology to give and take classes online, I’m really looking forward to getting back into a studio and getting back to work.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the theatre/arts industry in these trying times?
I think it’s important to just continue to support the industry. You can support the creatives that are doing classes online, watch the shows that are now available online. I think it’s great to see theatre still being talked about online, and see that love still being shared, and that’s really important.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
Family. I love it when everyone comes together, both those in the cast and crew and those in the audience. It becomes one big family and there is something wonderful about that. It’s a strong community, there is a love in it and for it.
How have you been managing day to day life in lockdown? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
I try to have a routine. I start each day with taking Lola for a walk and then get some work done around the garden. I think it’s important to have something to get up for, something to do in your day even if it’s not as routine as normal. I have a couple of Q&A ‘s coming up on Instagram too, so there’s that to look forward too.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
Well I am sure that there is probably many people finding the changes a little strange, and like I said I think it’s good to have some sort of routine. Even if it’s just something to get you up. If you can get out, then that’s great. There is so many things that you can do online, there’s dance classes, or you could learn a language, or there’s lots of concerts, finding something to do is important.
It was wonderful to see messages from so many people enjoying the Half A Sixpence dance along you did recently with Jaye Elster. Half A Sixpence was a really special show, why do you think it made such an impact?
It was a very joyful show, there was so much happiness there and the audience really loved it. We never really planned to do a dance class, it was just something that came out when Jaye and I were doing an Instragram Q&A. A lot of people started asking for us to do something with Sixpence and we thought that it could be fun to do a little class. We didn’t want it to be serious, we just wanted it be a little bit of fun and it was great to see that so many people were enjoying it. Pick out a simple tune and Flash Bang Wallop are such fun numbers, so it was just about spreading some joy and connecting people in something happy.
Even though Half A Sixpence at Kilworth House Theatre has been cancelled for this year due to the virus, do you hope to bring it back again another time?
Yes, I hope so. I know that people were excited for it, and it’s a real shame to see it cancelled but I am hoping to bring it back in some way or form at some point. It’s such a happy show, such a loved show, it would be really great to bring it back for people to enjoy again, so here’s hoping that happens in the not to distant future.
I would like to thank Andrew for his time and his answers to this little interview, and wish him all the best for the future. Stay safe x