‘We have to find pockets of joy in these situations’ – Life in Lockdown with Sallie-Beth Lawless

Actress Sallie-Beth Lawless has starred in numerous productions including Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat, Beauty and the Beast, Robin Hood and Peter Pan. I was lucky enough to talk to Sallie-Beth about how she has been adjusting to life in lockfrom, from teaching fitness classes online to preparing for the upcoming Joseph and the amazing all star concert fundraiser, raising money for Acting For Others.

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

I am not going to sugarcoat it, there was definitely an adjustment period for me. I’m in a high risk category so have been solo isolating for nearly 10 weeks which, as a very sociable person, took a lot of getting used to! I reached a level of acceptance by allowing myself to process the monumental change that was occurring and as soon as I allowed that to happen I was able to be productive and creative and that helped me feel like myself and more in control. 

How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown? 

As well as being a professional performer, I am a fitness instructor so have been managing to train some clients and friends each week via 1-1 video calls and posting content on YouTube, despite being the instructor, training people is mutually beneficial and keeps me just as accountable as them which creates a sense of community in such a distant world. I have also enrolled on a Sport Psychology course which should keep me stimulated and busy for the next year…

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

I joked about a high five the other day, but honestly any human contact or connection that isn’t obtained through technology will be super emotional for me and this taking place in a beer garden will sweeten the deal! 

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

My initial thoughts are to plead that people who have missed attending the theatre, aren’t deterred from doing so when things settle down, we need each others support and efforts to share the catharsis that live theatre brings! Until then please enjoy the online concerts we’re bringing you! I’ve taken part in a few projects during lockdown but one of my proudest participations is ‘Joseph and the amazing dream concert’ with a star studded cast spanning the last 5 decades, sharing the musical joy of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ which will be released in the next week in aid of the wonderful charity ‘Acting for others’ so I implore you all to watch, enjoy and donate whatever spare change you may have to keep this industry and its performers afloat! 

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

There is a insatiable bond between performers, which I think onlookers may find bizarre! We quick change in front of each other and have to be extremely comfortable with being tactile as part of the job role which means that when bonds are formed, they are fierce! This then makes the euphoria of performing that little bit more precious when shared with like minded creatives. 

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 it could have an impact on how every industry works! As much as I thrive on human contact, this could be a positive step and we have to find pockets of joy in these situations. 

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 basic ‘assignments’ that I give myself daily; make the bed, make healthy choices etc. and most days I have to be present for my clients or filming for a project but I want to emphasise the importance of listening to yourself. I attempted being super productive when all this kicked off, in a bid to retain some sort of control but I found that the emotions I was stalling, snowballed. It’s important and healthy to acknowledge and share where we’re at mentally, emotionally and physically in order to make sense of it. 

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

Please understand that those people that you see on social media being productive and seemingly thriving in the current climate are mostly attempting to spread positivity and retain a sense of purpose to help them tackle the shift that has occurred in their lives. They are doing what most other people are doing once the camera is off so please be kind to yourselves and focus on what has been achieved each day, even if that is taking responsibility on staying alive! 

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

I do, and as an advocate of exactly that, I want everyone to feel like they have a safe space. If you don’t feel like you have a non judgmental outlet for your thoughts/feelings then I would like be that platform for you. Find me on Instagram @salliebethlawless Facebook Sallie-Beth Lawless or twitter @sallieblawless please don’t be afraid to reach out! 

I would like to thank Sallie-Beth for her time and her answers to this interview, as well as wish her the very best for the future. Stay safe x

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