Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…
Gary Abblett is a 38-year-old jobbing actor with experience at the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, in the West End and on tour
Dicky Benfield is in his 40s and has worked in the West End, at the NT, the Globe, and in theatres around the country, as well as regular TV appearances
Ros Clifford is in her 30s. A deputy stage manager, she has worked extensively in London and regional theatre for nine years
Abi Egerman is in her 20s and has appeared at the Old Vic, National Theatre, and in regional rep
Vivian Lee is 38 and has played leading roles at the National, the RSC and the Royal Court, alongside regular TV appearances
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
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 and television
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
Charlotte I’m prepared for this, because this is something I have been thinking about. I hope the government will look after the NHS better. It is the backbone of this country. I hope everyone is treated more fairly – I know this will never be across the board but, again, I hope the government can see that every single one of us, not just the rich, is important.
Gary Football will be changed.
Jenny Auditoriums too.
Ros I hope a sense of community and kindness lasts when this is over.
Jenny I also hope for that. It may bring about the same change as the war did for women’s rights.
Albert History is all about not learning from the past isn’t it?
Vivian We are going to lose a lot of people to this virus. We are going to experience a lot of pain, dreadful images and communal grief. The generation who are dying to get their Blitz will, if they survive, finally get it. I think we who really experience the dangers and loss of this pandemic will be more wary and more angry.
Peter A lot depends on how long it lasts. Some theatres, cinemas, pubs and restaurants will never reopen.
‘Screen-to-screen communication has been great, but I long for a room full of people chatting’
Gary It is impossible to say, isn’t it? I just hope the economic disaster of it doesn’t further undermine decent social politics.
Beryl Capitalism should look different.
Dicky Mike Ashley will never change.
Peter Nor Tim Martin. I hope I can keep my resolve to never enter one of his pubs again.
Abi What will, hopefully (but this is probably wishful thinking), change, is the way society looks at the hierarchy of jobs. All the critical workers and key workers who get such a terrible deal and often have to cope with crappy treatment are now the backbone of our society.
Hari It’s interesting how the go-to economic policy has been socialist in nature in order to help everybody. I hope people realise that.
Albert The government has already said it will tax the money it gives to the self-employed. Evidently, it’s our fault that we earn less than a lot of other people. Nobody took into account the fact that most of the savings that prevent actors from getting benefits is money that we have put away to make tax payments, so we can be responsible. Deferring our tax payments just brings extra trouble down the line.
Charlotte On a more personal note, I hope people will want to come back to the theatre when we can all go out again. I hope they aren’t frightened of being in a large crowd.
Gary Theatre will explode, especially if the end is an announcement rather than a slow recovery – but this is a personal fantasy.
Jenny I also hope this resets everyone’s priorities and the world won’t be led by social-media influencers. The vanity is beyond sense.
Albert I hope it means people will value being able to talk face-to-face. Screen-to-screen communication has been great, but I long for a room full of people chatting.
Hari I don’t think there will be any new work in our industry for a while, because the majority of cancelled productions will be postponed instead of cancelled.
Vivian Art will rear its head. But I’m not sure in what form. I’m scared and I’m angry. Our lives have been played with. Our friends’ and families’ lives have been played with: ‘And if a few pensioners die, so be it’.
Abi In terms of our industry, my worry is that it will only be those in comfortable economic positions who will be able to ride out the storm. Those of us who don’t have money to fall back on to see us through this will be the casualties. This will result in an even less diverse, representative and fair landscape.
Ros I have a whole list of things I took for granted before this – but not any more.
Dicky I’m hoping people don’t get scared of physical contact.
Vivian There will be a legacy when it comes to intimacy.
Jenny We’re only at the beginning of a very long road.
Jon People might carry on washing their hands properly. And stop spitting in the street. That would be good. And is it too flippant to say, I am already dreading the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021 shows?
Abi Absolutely not too flippant. Prudent, I would say.
Charlotte I did read something saying: “Just think of all the drama teachers who will have to sit through pandemic-related scenes from their students.”
Peter I expect James Graham has already started work.
Jon It will be called: This Pandemic.
Vivian I don’t know. I don’t see anyone having any interest in this once its over. It’s the lucky generation afterwards who will get to analyse and write stuff.
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