‘We know that we will be back soon, and stronger than ever!’ – Life in Lockdown with Jack Ballard

Before the lockdown, actor Jack Ballard was starring in the UK Tour of Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain after starring in many productions including Alice in Wonderland, Repunzel and Robin Hood. I was lucky enough to talk to Jack about how he has been handling life in lockdown and his hopes for the future looking forwards to when the theatres are allowed are reopen.

First of all, how are you feeling about the whole virus and lockdown situation?

As it has been stated a great deal in the media, these are most definitely unprecedented times. I am not ashamed to say that I have found it rather challenging, however I have tried my best to stay positive and optimistic, while attempting to be as productive as I can. I am so grateful for all of our NHS staff and key workers who are going above and beyond to take care of our nation. One of the positives that has come out of this trying time, is the feeling of global togetherness. Communities are pulling together to support one another and great amounts of kindness are being shown all over the world. I really hope that these efforts are continued to be made even after this pandemic

How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?

I have tried my best to keep my creative juices flowing and have been singing and playing my saxophone a lot. I figured that now is a great time to learn some new material and try to make new discoveries in my craft where I can. Other activities have involved excessive amounts of board games and Zoom pub quizzes with family and friends. I am also a member of a Pro Clubs Fifa 20 Team on my playstation 4 with my friends, so that always takes a regular slot in our timetables.

What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?

I honestly cannot wait to get back to performing. We were only days away from our tech and dress rehearsals for a production that I was rehearsing for when the lockdown was announced. It was really difficult saying goodbye to a project that I was so passionate about. I simply cannot wait to get back to doing what I love and I know that there will be even more magic surrounding the theatre industry when productions can resume. I just know that the first night that theatres reopen will be electric. Most importantly though, I cannot wait to see all of my family and friends and give them all a huge hug! I am such a hugger and I am finding it so hard not being able to show all of those that I care for the affection that they deserve.

Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?

Simply continue to show your support and passion for the industry that we all love. In a time of such uncertainty, it is so uplifting and comforting to watch our wonderful theatre community come together to share their talents, opinions, emotions, all while keeping the spirit of theatre alive. We know that we will be back soon, and stronger than ever!

What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?

Theatre is the most magical form of escapism, allowing audiences of all ages to forget about the stresses of everyday life. It allows people to tap into their imagination and be creative. In a modern world where people ignore each other and communicate just as much via forms of technology than in person, it is a great way to stimulate the mind and feel in touch with your emotions. My favourite thing about the theatre industry is its great sense of community. We are truly one big ensemble, and in times of adversity such as now, we are together, supportive and strong. 

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 moving theatre online has been an incredible way of bringing theatre to the many, it has made performances more accessible, in-capturing audiences who may not have seen those productions under normal circumstances. Myself and so many others have been so grateful to all that have shared their amazing work during this current pandemic. However I do not believe that there can be a better alternative to live theatrical performances. Nothing can replicate the atmosphere in a theatre, being there in the flesh with no distractions, witnessing a story being told live and personally to you is something that can never be beaten in my eyes.

How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?

My main aim at the moment is just to take each day as it comes. Setting unachievable targets or overambitious tasks for yourself, when uncompleted can leave you feeling low. It is good to just keep in touch with yourself and do what feels right to do. Some days will be more productive than others, but that is fine. I have recently got a job working night shifts at Iceland, so my routine has taken a huge shift to accomodate that. However I am embracing the change and finding the positives out of these new experiences. I have so much respect for all of our nations key workers, they are going above and beyond to support the public.

Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?

Firstly, do not feel embarressed or ashamed to be finding this time difficult or challenging. We are all finding this time tough and people deal with situations like this in different ways. Remember that you are not alone, and in the words of High School Musical, “We’re all in this together!” I find it useful to set yourself three small, achievable tasks to complete in a day. Whether that be going for a walk or writing a poem, or even just making your bed. Something that you can tick off, making you feel productive and happy.

Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?

Absolutely. I believe that talking about mental health is always important, but even more so right now. Not only does talking help to relieve the minds of those that are struggling, but it will help to fight against the stereotypes surrounding mental health, and allow people to feel less isolated. Levels of anxiety and loneliness will be on the rise during this pandemic, so I urge people to check in with those that they may not have heard from in a little while. Your kind words or showings of support could give them the strength that they need to get through that day. Be kind always.

I would like to thank Jack for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x

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