Actor George Grayson has starred in a number of productions including The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, both in the West End and on the UK Tour, and pantomimes Aladdin and Peter Pan for Qdos Entertainment. I was lucky enough to get to talk to George all about how he has been handling the 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 has been a very weird time for everyone. I think being away from a show when you’re so use to doing it 8 times a week, can take a massive toll on your mental health. We are such active people and when it all stops suddenly with no talk of when you will be going back, it is hard to comprehend. I was off the show at the time the west end went into lock down as I had broken my foot in February, so I had kind of been though the mourning period of being off. It has been very difficult for a lot of people, we’ve just got to get though it together.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I have been keeping very busy over the lock down period, I got a Puppy on the 7th of March so I have been training him, which is a lot of work. Also been staying with some family and has actually been nice to see some family members as our time tables would normally clash and being far away it’s hard to get to see them so I’m making the most of that.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
I am 100% most looking forward to getting back to the show and getting a drink out after the show with some of my cast mates. I had only just joined the cast of Mormon when I broke my foot and then lockdown so I’m very much looking forward to performing the show again and catching up.
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
I think this is a brilliant question. I would say the same to the theatre fans as us, don’t lose faith because we will be back and it will be better than ever. Keep supporting the charities if you can, but I also understand that times are hard at the moment, but you can also share the links to things like ‘The Show Must Go On’ charity work to make other people aware. But most of all just keep loving musicals and supporting them in your own way because we can’t wait to see you all back with us.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole?
Being in theatre is so rewarding. Getting to make people happy 6 nights a week and bring them to the land of whatever show you are currently doing there is no feeling like it. I know for myself if you’re having a bad day and you go see a show you will come out feeling a lot different after, it can completely change your day.
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 really hope not. It takes the enjoyment out of it. It will also mean shows do not run as long because once its filmed it could be watched online. I have always felt a bit weird about making films out of them. I would hope people would still come see the shows as its completely different watching it in your front room to feeling the enjoyment from everyone on and off stage in the room itself.
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 would love to say I had a structure and a routine but I haven’t really. It has changed so many times and I kind of stick to one for a few weeks then it changes. With getting my dog it completely changed my time clock as he was waking me up at the crack of dawn.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown and the gradual easing of lockdown hard to manage?
I would say you are not alone at all. Everyone is going though peaks and troughs all the time. About 3 weeks into lockdown I was really struggling because it was the time I should have been going back to work after my injury and I found that really hard as I felt I had already had my isolation period. I also decided not to watch too much TV, to try and find other thing to do because I found myself just sitting there and feeling crap so got up and set myself projects, I’m sure we can all find things to get done around our house, get them done you will feel better for it.
Do you think that it is important to talk about mental health in these challenging times?
1000%. This is a very important subject to be speaking about. There are many people who suffer from all kinds of mental health and I know many people who have gone through stages of struggling with their own at some point. I always say speak to people about it, your closest friends or family, anyone who your trust and will listen to you. It is fine to feel venerable at points in your life it’s what makes you human, no person is going to sail through life and feel happy 100% all the time, it doesn’t happen. But just know that whatever you’re struggling with talking to people about it will help you.
I would like to thank George for his time and his answers to this interview, as well as wish him the very best for the future. Stay safe x