Sara Poyzer is an actress with many stage credits including hit musicals Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia! Now adjusting to a life in lockdown, I talked to Sara about how she is handling this new way of life, keeping herself occupied and looking forward to the future.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole situation?
I guess like a lot of people, I’m concerned. The uncertainty is difficult, I worry about the future, about our wonderful industry and most importantly I worry about loved ones getting sick. It’s so surreal, sometimes it is hard to get my head around it.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
Baking!! So much baking, but I’ve loved it. I am a super keen road cyclist too, so I have been clocking up the miles to burn off the cake calories. We are lucky enough to have a garden so we have decided to build veg beds and we are growing loads of different fruit and veg, which will be a treat to eat later in the year. And I am practicing for my Grade 6 piano, it’s VERY slow progress but I have got lots of time to try and improve I guess.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Seeing friends and family, hugging people. Going to the pub, to restaurants, but mostly getting back to the theatre, either in a production or as an audience member. I love it and I really miss the theatre community. But the online support and contact has been brilliant.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
The people. They are mostly, utterly brilliant, the courage of actors, the wonderful story telling that reflects humanity back at us. As much as I love being an actor, one of my favourite things is going to the theatre. I am rarely disappointed, even ‘bad’ shows have something to offer, something to teach us. It still holds a mystery and a romanticism for me that has always been there. I love it.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
I know that social media gets a bad rap and I can have a love/hate relationship with it, But I think that it’s a great place for us all to keep in touch. The support of theatre fans is priceless and keeping tuned in to online performances and sharing them really helps to keep productions and performers in people’s minds. And of course, when the theatres finally reopen again – come!! Come and see us, support us and you have always done so brilliantly and together we can make the West End and rep theatre as vibrant and wonderful as it ever was.
With the theatres closed and so much being moved online, do you think that we are seeing a big change in how the industry works?
I think that people will always want to see live theatre, there really is no experience like it. But the way people can share their ideas, work, performances, auditions etc might benefit from the accessibility that being online can bring. I’ve loved watching random performances from people’s front rooms as well as the theatre productions that have been broadcast. But the true magic of theatre comes from that unique interaction between audience and actor and that, I don’t think, can ever really be replaced.
How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
Up early, cup of tea in the garden and then I sort of try and structure each day. I love a list! So every day I try and plan what I am going to do, whether it’s sing, exercise, garden, bake, crack open the wine… Occasionally I go a bit stir crazy, but avoiding too much news helps me to calm the mind. I am thinking about food ALOT! ?
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
I think that when things are difficult, we have to try and take it one day at a time. When I think about the ‘what ifs’ I can panic and worry too much. I am a fan of meditating, it can really help with mental health, calming the mind, acceptance and surrender to what is. I think a daily structure can be useful, avoiding getting lost in TV and social media too much. And most definitely reaching out to friends.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these trying times?
It is absolutely crucial now and always. Reaching out to others is so important, so to is accepting that you are vulnerable and flawed but that it is okay, but that you are also utterly glorious, knowing that you are stronger then you dare to believe and embracing that you are worthy of love. I know that people are really struggling but as the old saying goes ‘This too shall pass’. We WILL get through it.
Huge love to the whole theatre community, the amazing fans and everyone who contributes to this amazing industry xxx
I want to thank Sara for her time and her amazing answers in this interview, and wish her the very best for the future. Stay safe x