Most recently seen in The Boyfriend at the Menier Chocolate Factory, actress Emily Langham has starred in a number of productions including Oklahoma, West Side Story, Follies, The Biograph Girl Mack and Mabel and Mrs Henderson Presents. I was lucky enough to get to talk with Emily all about how she is handling life in lockdown and her hopes for the future of the industry
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole virus and lockdown situation?
This has been a period of ups and downs, and I’m sure it will continue to be. Some days I’ve felt as though I could take on the world, others I have to search a little deeper for that inner strength. I’m trying really hard to take this process one day at a time. As soon as I find myself beginning to worry over what will happen or what should be happening, I have to remind myself that I am completely powerless over this situation. Knowing that it is out of my control helps me to stay in the present.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I’ve actually been surprisingly busy! I have been teaching lots of Pilates classes online, which I absolutely love. I think Pilates is invaluable for everyone, both physically and mentally. For me, it allows me to escape for an hour and focus on my mind and body. I’m really enjoying sharing that experience with other people. I have been going on daily dog walks, with our 6 month old puppy, who is providing endless entertainment. I’ve been taking part in online classes and workshops, singing, reading, cooking a lot – thanks to Mindful Chef and growing my first ever sunflowers!
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
I can’t wait to see my friends. I’m so grateful to be at home with my family, surrounded by outdoor space, but I really miss seeing people. I will be hugging everyone I meet, as soon as we’re allowed to! Of course, I’m also hugely looking forward to being back in a rehearsal room and am quite keen to buy myself an oat milk cappuccino and have a browse in Zara.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
I think one of the scary thoughts is, what if people don’t come to the theatre once it’s back up and running? Knowing that theatre fans are still there is so encouraging. Theatre is about the audience as well as the people on and backstage, so we are going to desperately need the theatre fans, who so loyally support the work that is produced. I think we need to do something big – a huge, theatrical march through the West End, with costumes and singing at the tops of our voices. Keep pushing, keep supporting and buy your theatre tickets as soon as you can!
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
The theatre industry provides a form of escapism. By telling stories on stage, we allow people to be transported to another world. That is what I love. Also, the theatre industry is one big community, which is present now, more than ever. The community has united to provide endless amounts of online support, whether that’s online classes, live streamed theatre, workshops or Matt Lucas’ Baked Potato song! I feel so lucky to be part of a community like ours and I can’t wait until we’re back telling stories again.
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’m a bit of a technophobe, but what a blessing the internet has been through lockdown! I feel as though I spend my life on zoom! I hope that the new discovered online support will continue to help people, even when life returns to normal, whatever normal may be. I think it’s really beneficial to those who might be unable to get to a class or the theatre, for whatever reason. I hope to keep teaching Pilates online. I want to be able to help those who wouldn’t normally go to a pilates class, or can’t afford to. In saying all that, theatre is about live performances. It’s a craft, which enriches our lives, both as performers and as audience members. It brings joy and allows us to express feelings. No two live performances are the same. Theatre is an extraordinary experience, which we can’t achieve, in the same way, online.
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 classes are providing some schedule for me, which I find really helpful. I do try to structure my day, as a way of keeping myself proactive. Having said that, I also try to listen to my body and how it’s feeling. As Actors, we so rarely get time off, where we’re not stressing about auditions, or a lack of, so I’ve tried to make sure that I give myself time to enjoy doing the things that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
Lockdown is hard to manage at times, and I think that’s something we have to accept. It’s important to enjoy the ups and accept the downs. There have been lots of aspects of lockdown that I’ve found really tricky, but it has taught me a lot about living in the present. I worry so much about what might happen in the future, rather than focusing on today. ‘One day at a time’ is a really useful tool during this period of time, and indeed, always. This situation will change, so I need to be patient. One thing I can do is pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. See how they’re doing. It’s really important that we help each other through this.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
I think it’s important to talk about mental health, not just in these challenging times, but at all times. There are some amazing people out there, encouraging mental health to be spoken about freely. We have to remember that a problem shared, is a problem halved. I’m a good listener, so always around for a chat.
I would like to thank Emily for her time and her answers to this interview, as well as wish her the very best for the future. Stay safe x