Prior to the lockdown, actor Joshua St Clair was starring in City of Angels, after appearing in many productions including the UK Tour of Kinky Boots, School of Rock, the UK Tour of Wicked and Shakespeare Live! I was fortunate enough to talk to Joshua about how he is adjusting to this strange new life in lockdown and his hopes for the future of the theatre industry.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole virus and lockdown situation?
It is a strange one. I’m obviously feeling slightly apprehensive and anxious about certain things, like our industry and it’s future. But I’m also feeling grateful for my health and to have a roof over my head in this really bizarre time.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I always try and do something productive every day. It usually involves a home workout. Shout out to Bobbys Bakery (@bobalus every day at 11am) for saving my fat ass during this lockdown! I always leave the flat at least once a day, just to get an oxygen fix. And I’m very lucky my block of flats has a garden so I’ve been enjoying this beautiful weather! I’ve also done some home decorating with my partner, using the free time to jazz our flat up a bit, painting walls, putting up some artwork and making it a nice place to be we’re we’re stuck here haha!
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Hugging everyone! Not that I’ll even be able to do that because of social distancing. But absolutely having some form of physical contact with friends and family. My niece is 2 in a few weeks and I’m hoping rules will have eased even more by then, so hopefully I’ll get to see her and give her the biggest squeeze, which she’ll probably hate!
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
The support from fans has been amazing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Supporting artists who are creating things, whether that’s workshops, new music, singing videos, live concerts. Just like, share and retweet stuff you enjoy, so we can keep the spirit of theatre going.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
The sense of community. It’s never been more apparent than now. Artists supporting other artists and encouraging each other to perform, talk and collaborate. I also love the escapism the industry provides for its audiences. It helped me so much whilst I was growing up and learning more about who I was. So now to be in the position to provide that to other people, I see it as a big deal.
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?
Potentially. It won’t shock me if first rounds of auditions either end up being self tapes or a Zoom-like situation. Lots of casting has been happening whilst in lockdown, and I think when creative teams realise they probably don’t need to see 100s of people in actual person for a first round, it may well all start online. Pure speculation obviously!
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 touched on it earlier, but as a whole I’d say I do a mix. I think a routine is good, it’s give you a bit of normality which can really help any mental struggles you might have. But there of course are days where you just see what happens. You may end up going for a long walk around the park, or staying in and binging an entire Netflix series. And either one of those is absolutely fine!
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
Just remember it’s not permanent. I know this seems like it’s going on forever, and normality is now queuing up to get in to the supermarket, and staying a good distance away from any other human, but you have to think of the long term. And do something every day that makes you feel happy. Exercise, cooking, FaceTime, singing, just one thing that will make you feel better about yourself and what’s happening.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
Absolutely. It’s more prominent than ever before. Actors who perhaps have been fortunate to rarely be out of work and never had any previous mental health issues, are suddenly thrown in to a situation they’ve never been faced with and it’s affecting even the strongest people. If you’re struggling, you’ve got to find a way to talk about it, either with friends, family or even an anonymous person through a helpline. There’s so many people out there who are willing to listen to you.
I would like to thank Joshua for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x