Actor Reece Kerridge has starred in a number of productions including Our House at The Union Theatre, the West End production of The Book of Mormon and the UK Tour of Shrek the Musical. He also appeared in hit movie musical ‘Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again!’. Before the shutdown, he was in rehearsals for Starlight Express. I was fortunate enough to talk to Reece about how he has been adapting to life in lockdown and his hopes for the future of the industry once theatres are finally allowed to reopen.
First, how are you feeling about the whole virus and lockdown situation?
Right now, better than I was at first. The uncertainty and unknown around this whole situation is really unsettling to me. I was in Germany rehearsing for Starlight Express when this all came about and to be in a different country away from your family is hard. Like really hard. But then add the pressure of a virus that is at the moment uncontrollable and brand new to everyone. But I flew back end of March to isolate and then be with my parents. So, I feel happier now as I’m with loved ones and working on my craft and creativity and finding out a lot about myself I never knew!
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I have been doing for a daily government approve walk every day. Mostly to the shops to buy things for the elderly and at risk and my family who are working through this. But imp also staying creative. However, I should say, I have shocked myself with my abilities on the creative side of the industry. I started writing. So, this all started in Germany. I was so bored of my own company a very dear friend of mine said write the lyrics to a song. I laughed and said ‘Me? Write a song? You’re funny!’ Well I took her advice and wrote a song about chicken nuggets to be precise! I kinda sat there and was like ‘WOW’ and then I just kept going and going and getting the words out of my head and onto paper and I’ve now written a children’s book and turned it into a musical version. So yes, safe to say I’m keeping busy!
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
GOING TO YORICA THE ICE CREAM SHOP ON WARDOUR STREET IN SOHO!
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
Continue to support. There are so many charities, and one night concerts, and live streams on social media. There’s just loads. All I can say is. Stay connected to us. We love that as performers. That why I personally do this as a career. I love to entertain and see people get transported into a completely different world for two hours for them to forget to outside world. I love talking to fans and supporters as it’s my way of saying thank you for your love and support. You guys have taken the time to show your love for us and our craft, the least we can do is thank you and show our love. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE continue to be the amazing fans and supporters you are because our industry really needs some love now.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry?
The fans! I love meeting the fans. You are all so crazy, BUT SO AM I! And I love it! LETS BE CRAZY TOGETHER! Your love and passion for the shows just fuels me to keep going. I have a few messages over the years thanking me for what I do and that I have helped them overcome things and more. This is enough for me. I do what I do because I love it, and I love to help others.
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 there will be a huge change in the world! Not just our industry. But yes, I do. I don’t know how but there will be. This is scary but I’m also a little excited to see how we move forward from here and change. I know I might get some back lash for this comment and if I do then I’m sorry if I offend you but I think change should be celebrated and I am trying to find the positives in the situation.
How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine?
Oh god, horrendously badly! I’m literally a sloth. If I didn’t force myself to get out of bed and set myself little tasks I would just lie in bed all day. So, the night before I say out loud to myself tomorrow I need to this and this. Does anyone else do this? If you have any good ideas message me and let me know!
Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
I kinda just go with the flow to be honest. Like I said above I set little tasks, whether that’s good food shopping for the family or elderly. Or record a few songs, or create a new song. I like to just roll with it.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
Firstly, its okay to have down and bad days. That’s acceptable. I’ve have my fair share and my friendship circle are very open about talking to each other and saying I’m having a bad day. But, Find the things you love and that make you happy and run with them. If you don’t want to do something don’t do it, if you want to bake a cake, do it! If you want to write a song, do it, you don’t know what it may lead too! Just do things for you and no one else. I could go on and on about this, but lifting yourself and others up will make you feel better too.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
YES. This is the perfect time to talk about mental health. When your ability to talk to in person has been taken away, its’ time to talk however and wherever you can. Someone will always be listening. I’m a great listener and always here to help and support people as much as I can. I should probably take my own advice at times! But please talk. This should be so mainstream people can talk about it without feeling lost or lonely. Mental health is lonely enough. So, let’s talk.
I would like to thank Reece for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as to wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x