Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…
Emily Cohen is in her 20s and works in theatre and TV as well as running her own theatre company. She is an associate member of a national company
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, Annie has worked predominantly in regional theatres and is a writer and street performer
Jon Your new year’s resolutions can be industry-related, or otherwise…
Emily I’m never very good with resolutions.
Peter I’ve never made one.
Beryl I tend not to, either – I think I’ll only let myself down. But I always think I’ll get fitter this year, be healthier.
Annie Get one of my shows in a theatre, and make a film.
John Do my tax for 2019/20 in May (I will not do this).
Annie Stay on top of my taxes…
Peter Oh yes, tax. It’s always late January when I do mine. If I were to make a resolution that would be it.
Jon I will do my taxes around January 29, when I will be pottering around the flat, then have a sudden unexpected surge that takes me to the computer. Afterwards I will congratulate myself on doing it ‘in plenty of time’, despite not having the money to actually pay it.
Emily I’ve had an idea for a play for years now and I think I need to sit down and write it.
Peter Drink less – but I’m a sociable being.
John Oh yes, drink less. I got in great shape earlier this year. It would be great to get back to that.
Emily One won’t hurt.
John Eight won’t hurt…
Jon I don’t drink in January and I’m already braced for all the explanations. No, I don’t think it’s a detox. No, I’m not doing it for charity. Yes, I know it doesn’t make much difference… I just like to exert a bit of self-control after all the excesses of Christmas and the new year. I will be very bored with alcohol-free lager by about January 10, though.
Beryl Drink less is always a good one. Drink less, write more.
Jon On the subject of drinking and writing: in my 20s I actually wrote a whole play drunk.
Beryl Yes, Jon. Can we all be in it?
John How on earth did that happen?
Jon I was an assistant stage manager/understudy in town. I’d go out for several drinks after the show, get back in the small hours, write, then tidy up the drunk bits when
I woke up.
Peter Were there lots of pauses?
Jon Some of the spelling wasn’t great. Moving swiftly on: it feels like we’re all saying we’re going to stop, or cut down on, doing stuff. How about some positive actions?
Beryl Try not to stress.
Peter Clean my flat.
Beryl Build my kitchen.
John I don’t know how well that will fit with trying not to stress.
Beryl That’s true.
Peter Join IMDb.
Emily Buy a dog.
Beryl Buy less stuff.
Emily I could never actually get a dog, though. Sad times.
Beryl A dog isn’t stuff.
Jon Especially if you get a rescue dog. That’s an act of altruism too, so there’s some solid resolutioning right there.
Emily I’ve heard of people choosing a celebrity mentor for themselves for the year instead of making a resolution. It’s quite funny.
Jon A celebrity mentor?
Beryl What? To emulate them?
Emily So you choose someone that’s like your spiritual mentor – I’m explaining this so badly.
Annie I’d be up for doing that.
Beryl Are you trying to be like them?
Jon “Tom Hiddleston was cast in a Marvel film so I’m going to do that too.”
Beryl I fear this may be a road to the deflation of the spirit somewhat – or am I being too cynical?
Emily No, it’s a fun thing, I’m trying to think of a good example. You choose someone and say something like: “They always approach things with so much humour but they’re doing loads of good in the world, so I want to have a bit of them in my life.”
Jon Oh I see – you’re talking about behavioural stuff. I like that.
Peter My spiritual mentors are people I drink scotch with.
Jon Before we get back to flagellating ourselves over drinking – any more resolutions for 2020?
Peter Lose some weight.
Emily See my family more.
Jon Mine is to be less panicky when I’m not working, I think. Or just to work constantly so there’s no need to panic…
Beryl That’s what I meant by try not to stress.
Annie Give back more. And see family more.
Jon Don’t moan about not working – and don’t moan about working when I’m working. Note that these two are designed to be broken because sometimes you just have to.
Peter Drink less, eat less, do my tax in plenty of time and be very boring.
Jon Peter, for someone who has never made a new year’s resolution before, you’re giving yourself a hell of a lot to live up to there – a bold start.
Emily Even the mention of tax gives me a panic attack.
Jon Well, we’ll check back on these in a couple of months…
Beryl I already got in my ‘I will fail and let myself down again’ caveat in, right?
Peter Fail again. Fail better.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org