Jonathan Andrew Hume is a stage and screen actor with credits including the leading role of Simba in The Lion King and Kevin J/Ali in Come From Away. As we enter into another 3 weeks of lockdown, I talked to Jonathan about how he is adapting to this strange new way of life and his hopes for the future of the theatre industry.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole situation?
On the whole, I am trying not to be super anxious. Of course, there are times when this is hard, but I try to keep things in perspective and remember that we are all in this together. For us, as an industry, I am deeply saddened that not only are we unable to go to work, or audition for work, but also that we are unable to bring joy to those who come to watch our work.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I recently become a father, (my son was born a few weeks before this pandemic reached the UK), so I have been kept busy sharing the job of caring for him with my wife. It is a strange position to be in. This pandemic is claiming the lives of so many around the world; paralysing jobs and industries, and I am thankful, but also feeling a bit guilty that I get to enjoy spending limitless time that I wouldn’t ordinarily have because of work, bonding and watching my son grow. However, it also brings up a number of anxieties and worries. Since we are strictly following the guidelines of the lockdown and social distancing, he is kept from exposure to the virus, but there is a subconcious worry that every time I leave the house to get groceries, I also bring back the possibility of introducing the virus to my home. It is scary, because there is not enough information on how Covid-19 can affect newborns.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Making plans! I miss seeing family and friends in person. I especially miss dining out at restaurants!
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
If you are in a position to do so, please support the industry. There are a lot of people and businesses who are ineligible to receive any financial aid from the government and fall through the cracks through no fault of their own, leaving individuals and families with no help whatsoever. Not everyone has savings. Many have huge responsibilities and obligations. Many were living paycheck to paycheck. They should not be left out. Support hard working charities and organisations as such ‘Acting for Others’, ‘Theatre MAD’, ‘Actors Children’s Trust’, ‘Actors’ Benevolent fund’, ‘Help Musicians’, ‘Dance Professionals Fund’ and many more which can be found on the websitewww.theatresupport.info
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
I always try to encourage the practice of gratitude. At this time of isolation and the news being filled with stories that only exacerbate feelings of anxiety, panic and fear, it is important to try to keep as calm and collected as possible. I try to think of at least three things to be grateful for, no matter how insignificant or monumantal as they may seem. Be it that the sun is shining; managing to buy a box of eggs at the shops; the ability to video call friends and family; participating in Clapping for Key Workers. I do this in the morning when I wake to help my spirits through the day, and also before going to bed, to help keep negative thoughts whirring around my head, stopping me from getting a restful sleep. Good mental health is paramount to getting through to the other side of this lockdown. Keeping our spirits up and dealing with stress and anxiety in a healthy way will only fuel a drive to hit the ground running and get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as we are able to.
I would like to thank Jonathan for his time and answers, and wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x