Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…
Ros Clifford is in her 30s. A deputy stage manager, she has worked extensively in London and regional theatre for nine years
Adam Lovett is a 45-year-old actor who has appeared in film, BAFTA-winning TV, at the RSC, National and West End
Charlotte Osmand is in her 30s and has worked as a stage manager in venues across the UK, as well as in event management
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
Jenny Talbot is 39 and has nearly 20 years of experience in West End and touring musical theatre with forays into TV, film and plays
Beryl Physically, I’m fine – but I’m not sure about my head.
Adam I’m also physically fine. My head is a clown car of fear and anxiety. I was in a sold-out, hit West End show with a contract to June. That has been cancelled.
Charlotte I’ve had two shows cancelled and although I have another season coming up in the summer, I don’t know if it will go ahead.
John Honestly, things have been slow for me the past year work-wise. At least I now have a solid excuse for unemployment.
Adam My other job was lucrative. I’ve been doing it for years, but it relies on travel and in-person workshops, so it’s vanished in smoke.
Beryl It’s the ‘what now?’ feeling.
Charlotte Producers around the country seem to have really stepped up and are looking after their staff. It’s a shame that the government isn’t looking after freelances.
Jon The contrast between the theatres unilaterally closing and the pubs staying open as long as they could was very marked.
Beryl The government will definitely need to help.
Jon The producers of the show I was doing are paying us. I really appreciated that they told us early, before cancellation looked likely, that they’d pay us whatever happens. But it was a short gig.
Albert My fear is not from the virus, although I am in a vulnerable group, but from the way it’s being handled.
John I think we are right to take the fear of the virus seriously. I think the mistake from the government was not spelling this out.
Jenny The government has to think about people’s mental health as well as the virus.
Albert Stephen Fry tweeted the other day that in these times “we must all let bygones be bygones”, but how do you suddenly come to trust a man appearing on your television every day who you know is a proven liar and who demonstrates incompetence, a lack of concern and disrespect? My main worry is that at some point between 5pm and 6pm each evening the coffee table will go through the television screen.
Charlotte Exactly. I know everything will all go back to ‘normal’ eventually, but what will be left of our industry unless there is some help from the government?
Beryl I’ve put my head in the sand, economically speaking, as I just can’t see a way out.
Charlotte As a stage manager, I always just keep going no matter what. I have asthma, so have to be careful. I think this will be the first time ever I can’t just keep going.
John Trying to convince my very sensible parents of the severity has been challenging.
Beryl I know folk who have had huge family fallouts.
Albert A necessary trip to Marks & Spencer’s yesterday revealed it full of over-70s parading through the cold meat aisle, yelling: “We survived the Blitz.” I wanted to point out that you survived the Blitz by doing what you were told to do and being in an air-raid shelter or at a farm in Gloucestershire.
John All the people saying they survived the Blitz were born in the 1950s.
Adam Also, the Blitz wasn’t contagious…
Jon Our industry has shown it’s as polarised as any other business. I don’t feel much kinship with Hollywood stars cheerfully posting videos of them wet-wiping their wine cellars.
Adam This has highlighted the tremendous inequality in our society. Some people can survive six months to a year of lockdown. Most people live hand to mouth, or can survive a month or two at most.
Jenny I think theatres will be the last to reopen. Who will have the disposable income to buy tickets?
Jon That’s going to depend on how much public money is made available to help people.
Albert Thank God for social media – imagine how we would have done this 10 years ago.
Jon What are we doing to keep safe?
Ros I’ve had to switch off my news app notifications and I’m trying to keep away from social media – it was just breeding anxiety.
Beryl I’m staying at home.
Ros I’m also staying home unless I really have to go out (shopping for example). It’s weird. I don’t know what to do with myself.
Charlotte Staying home – and using a large amount of hand sanitiser when I get in after going out.
Beryl It almost feels existential. What’s the point of worrying about whether I’ll do a play again, if we’re living in Cormac McCarthy’s Road?
Albert But it could be the way forward in so many areas. Question Time was brilliant without an audience. The panellists weren’t playing to a heckling crowd. They sat in a circle on chairs one metre apart and had a reasoned debate. Perhaps this is the 2020 equivalent of Noah’s flood.
Jon I think this crisis has let us to question the way we usually do things.
John Is anyone else feeling slight pressure from the industry to ‘create’? At the moment, my creativity feels like it has dropped 50% and creating for creation’s sake feels somewhat fruitless.
Jon Oh, man – the whole ‘now you can write King Lear’ thing. I can barely concentrate on Come Dine With Me.
Jenny Lots of people are doing concerts from their lounge. To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything worse. The main thing we’ve done in our house is set up a voice-over system.
Adam Kindness is what I keep at the top of my mind. Kindness and empathy. Both to myself and others.
Jon And naps. People need to know they can have naps.
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