‘ It has felt like we’re living in a never ending episode of ‘Black Mirror’’ – Life in Lockdown with Nicholas McLean

Before the lockdown was enforced and the theatres were made to close, actor Nicholas McLean was playing the role of Boq in the West End Production of Wicked. He has also performed as the Doctor in The Book of Mormon, Gary Coleman in Avenue Q, TJ in Sister Act and Henri in South Pacific. I was fortunate enough to talk to Nicholas about how he has been adjusting to 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’s all a little bit crazy isn’t it? At first, I have to say none of it felt real. It has felt like we’re living in a never ending episode of ‘Black Mirror’. That being said as time has gone on I’ve found my peace with the whole situation and I think I’ve even grown accustom to this new way of life that we are leading. I’ve also developed a really strong relationship with Amazon. They send me something almost everyday. 

How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown? 

I’ve been lucky enough to work on a couple of projects whilst we have been in lockdown. Myself and the cast of Avenue Q released a Quarantine Edition of one of the songs from the show ‘For Now’. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcs6cqaXFEY

Some of my very talented friends Sam Toland and Ellena Vincent wrote a song dedicated to the NHS and all their hard work during this time which i sang on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lR6snd__Go

I think the most important thing for me has been trying to establish a routine. I’ve set myself up a little timetable and it’s really helped me. When I have unstructured time I get a bit restless so having a scheduled has made a massive difference for me.

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

It will sound so trivial, but I’m really looking forward to eating out again. I’m really bored of cooking my own meals (and pouring my own drinks). I’d love to get all my friends and family together for a lovely little meal and chinwag over everything that we’ve just been through. 

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

The support for all the online content has been truly outstanding. It’s so reassuring to see that even in the darkest of times we can still bring happiness to so many people. I would say that Theatre Fans can support the industry by maintaining a vocal and active presence on Social Media, expressing their enjoyment of the theatre, expressing how vital a part of day to day life it is. The industry faces a lot of uncertainty at the minute due to the massive loss in revenue so we need to make it clear to the people in power that it truly is something that the world cannot live without. 
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?

That even in a global pandemic we continue to produce exciting projects to keep our creative juices flowing. As we always say The Show Must Go On and I think this really shows more than ever during this time.

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

Pick up the phone. Reach out to your friends and family. We know people have got a bit more time on their hands now so just talk it out. Luckily we’ve reached the stage where people are allowed to spend a bit more time outside now and even meet groups of upto 6 people in outdoor spaces so hopefully this should being to make the situation slightly more manageable. 

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

Absolutely. I think a lot of people have been struggling during this Quarantine period. There are so many excellent resources out there. A friend of mine Cathy Read set up an Arts Mental Health Support Platform called Industry Minds which has been carrying out some groundbreaking work on opening up the conversation on Mental Health in The Arts. They can be found on Twitter at @IndustryMindsUK.

I would like to thank Nicholas for his time and his answers to this interview as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x

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