‘We just laugh our way through the challenging moments’ – Life in Lockdown 2.0 with Claire Learie

Actress Claire Learie has performed in starred in a number of productions including Our House before travelling to Japan to work as a performer at Universal Studios. During lockdown, she has launched a new radio show entitled ‘Sit in the Stalls’, co-hosting with actor Reece Kerridge. The show plays every Sunday afternoon, featuring show tunes, games and interviews with other performers. I had the chance to talk to Claire all about how she has been keeping occupied during the lockdowns and all about the radio show.

Firstly, how are you feeling about the whole virus and second national lockdown situation?

It’s just weird isn’t it? We’re all so used to our routines, meeting up with people and doing our own thing which we obviously can’t do at the moment. I did think that a second lockdown would happen so I was somewhat prepared for it, but I do miss seeing my family and friends. And my cat.

How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdowns? 

Well… I was lucky enough to do a show! What?! I know! It was mad but an incredible experience. Then, of course, Reece Kerridge and I started our radio show! I also have watched a lot and I mean A LOT of TV and films. Oh, and I downloaded the Sims 4 so now I think I’m an Architect and an Interior Designer.

What is your favourite thing about the theatre industry as a whole? 

The people. You will not find more talented, kind or funny people in any other industry. I guarantee it. 

What are you most looking forward to doing once all of this is over? 

Seeing a show. That’s all I want. Oh and restaurants. I really miss going out and having food! Food and Theatre, what a concept. 

Can you tell us about your radio show ‘Sit in the Stalls’ ? 

Sit in the Stalls is a theatre radio show that is every Sunday 2pm – 4pm on UK Radio Network. We make the show as interactive as possible so our listeners chose Musical of the Week, we have Special Guests, tell you all about theatre news and then it’s a lot of me and Reece just having a chat and laughing! 

How does it work to make a radio show during lockdown? 

We’ve only ever known the show this way. We started in August in the first lockdown and here we find ourselves again in the second. Everything is over Zoom, Google Docs, Text messages, WhatsApp and of course emails. 

What is your favourite thing about co-hosting Sit in the Stalls with Reece Kerridge? 

Nothing. I hate him… I joke! Reece is one of my best friends and getting to work with one of your best friends every single day, is honestly amazing. We just laugh our way through the challenging moments. 

If you could pick any three songs to feature on the radio show, which songs would you choose and why?

The hardest question you can ask an MT  Nerd. Some of my favourite Musical Theatre songs are: 

Being Alive – Company

I Am The One – Next to Normal

The Beauty Is – Light in the Piazza

I listen to all three songs, all the time. But this was genuinely hard to choose! 

With the theatres closed again and so much moving online, do you think we are seeing a change in how the theatre industry works? 

I think we find ourselves in this ‘new normal’ of streaming live shows and I think until theatres are able to be at full capacity it’s gonna be in our lives for the foreseeable future. So yes there is a change but I don’t think it’s here forever.  Live theatre is magical. 

Have you watched any of the theatre content online? If yes, do you have a favourite show you’ve watched? 

Yes! I’ve watched so many! To name a few, ‘What A Carve Up’, ‘The Theatre Channel’, ‘Spotlight on the Future’ and I’ve got my ticket for ‘Rent’ at the Hope Mill Theatre, really looking forward to that. I can’t pick a favourite! It’s important to show love and support for ALL theatre makers at this moment. 

Do you have any advice for anyone who is perhaps finding the lockdowns hard to manage? 

You are not alone. Everybody is going through this weird time with you. If you need help or just a talk, reach out. 

I would like to thank Claire for her time and her answers to this interview, and wish her the very best for the future. You can listen to Sit in the Stalls every Sunday on UK Radio Network! Stay safe xx

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