Actor Daniel Hope has starred in many productions including Matilda the Musical, Wicked, Bare and most recently Jersey Boys. I was lucky enough to get to talk to Daniel about how he is handling life in lockdown and his hopes for when the theatres and performance venues are allowed to reopen.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole lockdown situation?
I am feeling quite calm about the entire situation. I am in a very fortunate position that I have some savings and have recently worked on a ship, so am quite used to this isolated lifestyle (but on land, you have Wifi and Netflix).
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
The first 10 days, I was ill with what we think was Covid-19 as I had a lot of the symptoms, but I was extremely lucky that these were all mild and similar to flu (along with losing taste and smell). That kept me home for a while, but luckily Disney+ was released the day I returned home from the states, which has kept me very occupied. I am a bit obsessed with Disney so the documentaries have been great and am loving reliving the old Disney classics.
Since recovering, I started being more productive, by sorting out my rep folder (as it was long overdue), doing a singing lesson every other day and have received some self tape scripts from a friend. I want to use this time to get myself more comfortable on camera, and increase my script learning ability.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Being able to go back to my job! I was recently performing in Jersey Boys and we were heading in to our second month of performances, so was just getting in the swing of it before having to come home. Praying we can get back as soon as possible but that may be some time off, so until then, I am just going to take each day as it comes and enjoy seeing friends and my family with a good internet connection.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
All we can do at this time is support each other! There is so much incredible content being shared at the moment, such a live concerts from home, dance classes, home fitness. Even if you are unable to afford these, sharing and liking is always a little help.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
Theatre has always played a massive part of my life and given me the best memories. From being in the audience, travelling down from Newcastle with my best friend to have a stagey week, to being able to perform on those very stages. I have also been so fortunate to be able to travel the world, living my dream and being paid to do it all! Crazy!
With the theatres closed and so much being moved online, do you think we are seeing a big change in how the industry works?
I have a feeling casting directors may get us to submit a song we think is suitable for the show, before the audition process, which will help reduce the amount of people they have to see within the room for the first round.
I also think that there may be more shows recorded to stream in the future as it has proved extremely popular. This will be great for fans overseas who are unable to make the expensive trips abroad to watch. I personally think they should only be streamed way after they have closed though as it may discourage people to make the effort to come.
How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
I have started to give myself a check list of things I need to do. Even small things, such as hoovering the floor. It makes you feel like you’ve achieved something through the day when you can see all the small things you’ve done.
I try to workout every day (to counterbalance all the Easter chocolate I’m still eating) and am doing a singing lesson every other day to keep Frankie in my voice.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
I feel everyone is going to deal with this in different ways, and it’s okay to find it scary. The first time I was on a ship, I found it extremely hard around the 2 month mark and went a bit crazy. I felt this was due to not having a routine as I am so used to being super busy. I found meditation was my best friend during this and doing small workouts really helps the brain. Again, having that list of small goals also helped as I felt more productive.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
Absolutely! Mental health affects us all at some point, to a different degree and at a time like this, I can imagine it taking it’s toll extremely hard on some people.
I think knowing the signs for yourself is super important. It is so easy to say “I’m fine”, but admitting you’re not okay is so much harder. And we need to remember that it’s natural to feel this way, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. There are some amazing charities which can help and just lend an ear to if you need to speak to. Samaritans number is 116 123 from any number, at any time of the day.
I would like to thank Daniel for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x