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How to… stay cheerful in unemployment

John Cockerill. Photo: Brendan Foster John Cockerill. Photo: Brendan Foster
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1. Keep your hand in

Write to industry people to introduce yourself and express interest in their work. See as many shows as you can, which gives you more ideas for people to contact. It works for me, although we’re all different. Some people deal with being out of acting work better than others.

2. Go to classes and Q&As

Keep exercising those actor muscles. It’s also a way of meeting others in the industry​ so you make contacts as you learn and develop your skills.

3. Focus on other things

I try to take the pressure off and keep things in perspective by keeping fit and investing in my friends and family. The latter is probably more important than anything. In Robert Waldinger’s 75-year study on happiness, he argues good relationships keep us happy and healthy.

4. Stay creative and positive

I don’t do in-between jobs if they’re making me depressed – life’s too short.

5. Explore other art forms for inspiration

See films, exhibitions, good TV, documentaries and talks. In Shawn Achor’s talk The Secret to Happiness, his point is that rather than trying to find happiness through success (an ever-moving goal) it is better to try to find success through happiness.

LIPA-trained John Cockerill has worked at the Vaults, Unicorn Theatre and York Theatre Royal among others. He was talking to Susan Elkin