‘When theatre comes back, the first night of shows is gonna be amazing’ – Life in Lockdown with Matt Overfield

Most recently seen in the UK Tour of 9 to 5, actor Matt Overfield has starred in a number of productions including Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Motown the Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Tommy and Kiss Me Kate. I was lucky enough to talk to Matt all about how he is handling life in lockdown and his hopes for the future when the theatres are eventually allowed to reopen.

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

I’m staying positive. I think that everything is moving in the right direction in terms of less people in hospital etc. It’s obviously frustrating and sad but it has to be done in order to get back to normal.

How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?

I’ve actually just taken a job as an amazon driver to keep myself going, so that’s keeping me occupied. It’s also keeping me fit, you’d be surprised how many tower blocks don’t have lifts. I’ve been doing lots of DIY around the house. I’m a big comic book geek….I mean fan, so I’ve been reading a lot comics and graphic novels. The best thing I’ve been doing, is spending time with my wife and dog.

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

Obviously getting back to work is a big thing, but I think being able to see my friends and family with no restrictions. I miss being able to nip to a pub for a drink with friends. When theatre comes back, the first night of shows is gonna be amazing.

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

I think that just knowing that theatre fans are still there is help enough. There’s a lot of fear about when lockdown is over, if people will still want to go to the theatre. It’s been really nice to see how many people are showing support by just showing their love for theatre. That gives me confidence that we will come back stronger.

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

Ooooh tough question. I love the sense of excitement and community this business brings. It’s a joy to be in an industry that I’ve wanted to be part of since a young age. And the fact that it’s purpose is to bring pleasure to others is fantastic.

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 the whole online thing has been a life saver in context of the situation we’re all in. I don’t personally think that it will take over or make any massive changes to how we work. I could be wrong, but I personally think watching a theatre show online or on video is nowhere near the same as the real thing.

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

Well I have a bit more of a routine now I do the delivery job. Before that though, it was very much go with the flow. I’m not a planner at all, I really like to see what happens and roll with it. It drives my wife nuts.

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

There is so much uncertainty about everything, that its hard to be positive all the time. I would say that it’s ok and normal to feel down or anxious at this time. But, remember this will not last forever and we will come through this. Social media is a weird place at the moment, so I would probably limit your time on it. I’ve seen so many people on Facebook, Twitter etc. who all of a sudden are fortune tellers and seem to know the future….. they don’t. So, stay positive and this will be over before you know it.

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

100% YES. Mental health is something that should be talked about in general. There is no shame or embarrassment in admitting when you’re feeling down or depressed. I have so much respect for people who can speak freely about their own mental health issues. It’s the old saying, a problem shared is a problem halved.

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