Birmingham Stage Company

Unexpected lessons

7 May 2020

The unexpected things I’ve learnt from the lockdown are I think being shared by many people in the country. My involvement in theatre has characterised my whole life, so I’ve always assumed that this pursuit was a vital part of my contentment and indeed have sometimes worried what I would do if it all stopped. So this enforced pause has been very affirming in finding out that a simpler life without theatre remains rewarding and comforting because of everything else I love, which centres greatly around the countryside. I have always drawn on the restorative powers of the natural world and the opportunity to experience nature more fully over these last two months has been thrilling. I have never been able to see spring arrive day by day, as these few weeks have allowed. It’s also been incredibly heartening to connect so fully with family and friends, despite not being able to see them. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: I’ve sometimes asked myself if, after having died, I was allowed just one day back on earth, what would I do with it? It seems like a useful way to reflect on what I really value. And so if the opportunity ever arose, my imagined day starts with a lovely breakfast and a leisurely read of a newspaper, a long country walk, lunch with friends in a pub garden by a river, afternoon tea with family, a gin and tonic after a swim in the sun, and being able to perform a show in the evening. Knowing all but the last will still be available in this new normal is very reassuring. So theatre becomes an extraordinary bonus, and I’m working hard on making sure I can add it to the day.

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