Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…
Albert Parker is 60 and has appeared as a regular in soaps, two BAFTA-winning sitcoms, theatre and TV
John Pepper is 31 and for the past 10 years has worked as an actor in regional theatres, the National and in radio, television and film
Beryl Phoenix is in her 40s. She has played leading roles at the RSC, worked on new plays, and toured both nationally and internationally
Peter Quince is a 72-year-old actor working in theatre
Annie Walker is 25. Since graduating from drama school, she has worked predominantly in regional theatres and is also a writer and street performer
Peter Take care of myself physically? I don’t…
Beryl Alcohol is a wonderful preservative.
Albert Alcohol helps my dancing.
Beryl Oh, sorry, I meant quinoa and kumquat.
Albert As a young actor, I always resented the fact that I could dance really well but couldn’t sing a note.
Jon Albert, together we could have taken over the world. I have pipes of gold and eight left feet.
Albert It’s always a joy when one has to dance in a play. It’s just the preceding three hours of Restoration comedy that’s the problem.
Peter Peter O’Toole said that the only exercise he took was walking behind the coffins of friends who took exercise.
Beryl Haha! I tend to get fit on jobs, and then get unfit between…
John It’s the only time I lose weight really, on a job.
Jon Me too. I have about a stone and a half that is ever-present when I’m unemployed and disappears when I’m working.
Peter At least we don’t sit behind desks all day.
Annie I cycle 40km most days and did my first triathlon in September. I also love ballet – and dance in general.
Jon Annie, that puts us all to shame.
Albert I walk. Keep up my steps – and get my car to drive alongside for when I need a rest.
Peter I put on weight when I’m in work: biscuits in rehearsals and the pub after the show.
John It’s all about the running for me. That and a bit of gym.
Annie Having done a lot sword work and fighting, it’s useful.
Beryl I walk everywhere.
Albert And I walked all the way round the business class cabin coming back from holiday last week…
Peter And as for location catering… apple crumble and custard.
Jon I like to get digs that are about a mile and a half from the theatre if I can, so I can guarantee walking three miles or so a day.
Beryl I can’t run as my knee is too knackered from years in theatre.
Peter I constantly think I should go to the gym – but I don’t.
Jon Doing a musical is always good for my fitness – even though I tend not to be in the dance sequences, there’s always a compulsory physical warm-up every night.
Annie I’ve been doing a lot more musical theatre gigs lately, which has been fun. And exhausting.
Beryl I love a job with a workout.
Albert I do hate it though when the designer shows the model of the set, and there are no chairs.
Jon Haha! I’m not proud of this, but since I turned 45 I seem to have become the ‘I feel he would be sitting down’ actor.
Peter Today’s actors are much fitter than my generation was. Just compare the bare chests in old films with the ones you see now.
Albert I’m assuming we are talking ‘fit’ as in ‘healthy’ here rather than ‘fit to do the job’?
Beryl Or ‘fit to drop’.
Peter Fit for purpose.
Jon The six-pack is quite a modern phenomenon for actors, isn’t it? When I were a lad, you didn’t see all these Ken-doll bodies in the dressing room.
Albert I always used to have a six-pack in the dressing room. Sometimes I’d share it after a matinee.
John Six-packs are extremely hard to achieve. And make you very boring.
Beryl When I see that I can’t help but see the work gone into it and therefore the vanity.
Jon Or the fear?
Beryl Yes, and outside pressure.
Annie That kind of upper body is contradictory for good vocal technique, which drives me nuts.
John The work that goes into getting the Marvel body is astonishing.
Albert But it’s nice to bump into. I did a stint in a soap that was very body-conscious. No acting involved though.
Peter I remember seeing Matt Damon on the beach in The Talented Mr Ripley and thinking that he had a much better body than was believable for the character.
Jon Let’s not even get started on the body pressure female actors are under… I always think of that Julianne Moore quote: “I’ve been hungry for 15 years.”
Beryl Yeah, people don’t look real anymore.
Jon I’m always very impressed with the discipline of dance-trained people whenever I work with any.
Beryl Me too, Jon. And a bit jealous. They fill me with envy and good intention that falls away.
Jon I don’t think I’d be as able to refuse a between-shows pizza.
Peter Except they smoke.
Jon Not even that any more. Nobody smokes. Which is a good thing, but I don’t like change…
John It’s such a shame. I hardly even smoke any more, it’s so dull.
Jon The fag break on the first Monday always used to be: “Ah, so these will be my friends.”
Beryl So true.
John Who are my friends? Who are they?
Peter Most of my friends smoke.
Albert Sadly I don’t drink or smoke anymore. And I barely have time to do the other.
Jon I love actors. ‘How do you look after yourself physically?’ has become ‘Why doesn’t anyone smoke?’
Jon Dryden Taylor is an actor, writer and editor of The Green Room. If you work in theatre and would like to join in the conversation, email email@example.com