Before the shutdown, actor Eddy Westbury was performing in hit Mischief Theatre show The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. I was lucky enough to talk to Eddy about how he has been adapting to this strange new way of life in lockdown and his hopes for the future of the theatre industry.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole virus and lockdown situation?
Everything has happened so fast! Initially, I found it difficult to keep up with the rights and wrongs and do’s and don’ts because of how nonchalant the government was. I think that I only really came to terms with the gravitas of the world situation after a week or two of isolation. It’s strange but amazing how wearing masks and gloves has become a norm. It’s fascinating and frightening in one. I ended up having coronavirus (early on luckily) which I only recovered from in mid April, only recently getting my taste and smell back. Social media didn’t help one bit – I was terrified! But after a grueling week, it became manageable and here I am!
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
The irony of the whole ‘lockdown’ situation is that I have never been more busy! Finally having time to catch up and start overdue projects and passions! Drawing and design, illustration, playing music, online events, starting a business, online teaching, short films! It’s been crazy and I am probably one of the few who are really appreciating this time! My health and fitness are also through the roof. Through reading and influence I have managed to rewire my ‘motivational blueprint’ for the better and now I am reaping the benefits!
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
My wonderful girlfriend, my incredible friends and my loving family are probably the main things that I can’t wait for! There is also this incredible urge to see how all of the arts explode and flourish after being dormant for so long – all of these brilliant minds festering and overflowing with imagination with a very limited platform to share it on! Without the arts, lockdown would be infinitely more difficult/unbearable for everyone worldwide.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
The main difficult thing at the moment for all self employed people is the lack of support financially. These are trying times for everyone, but those who don’t have contracts or access to furloughing are suffering majorly. Any donations towards the Arts industry (this is constantly taken for granted) shares a heartfelt gratitude!
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
We are a very resilient bunch and therefore adaptable to change. It is exciting how much innovation occurs in this industry!
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 feel like, for theatre, this is temporary. There has already been a lot of adaptation into the world of technology (national theatre live etc) – but who knows – as I said before, we are an adaptable industry!
How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
Routine has saved me! Having even, at least, a vague plan day to day has kept me sane. Time to workout, work on my health and outside business (ARBONNE), social interactions, creative outlets! All help with my mentality!
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
I would say to just take it day by day. Don’t expect or assume. And also – keeping yourself busy is the best thing that you can do – learn a new skill, read a book, cook, write, watch TV or Netflix (or Disney +). Distractions in this time are your best friend! You might find out a lot about yourself that you didn’t know!
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
One hundred percent. I think that it’s more prevalent now than ever before because we are so left to our own devices and literally isolated with our own minds and lack of social outlet. I would also love to say that anyone who feels like they need someone to talk to can contact me via Instagram @eddywestbury and I’ll do my best to reply ASAP!!
I would like to thank Eddy for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x