Artists in Quarantine: Carys Bowkett, Actor
10 July 2020
How are you doing? What’s your current confinement situation, who’s on your quaranteam?
I’m very lucky to have a balcony and to be able to easily walk to food shops. This virus is challenging for everyone, but I’m very aware that some people’s challenge is greater than others, and I’m in a very fortunate position. I got married in August last year and as we are both actors unfortunately/fortunately work has meant that we have been away a fair amount, and haven’t been able to see all that much of each other. So it has been lovely to spend some time together – a little silver lining in a very dark time.
Are you able to work, are you inspired by what we are going through or do you find it challenging?
It’s a huge unexpected change, but I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity to shake things up and try new things. Explore new ways of working. I’ve learnt so much from watching how other actors around me have adapted and are creating some great pieces of work. At Lamda we worked on lots of different projects in different styles and on different scales. One term we were told to pick a picture of a painting and go and create a piece of work that could be performed anywhere, with minimal props/set, which we had sourced ourselves. It really taught us to trust our creativity, and rely on our creative problem solving first when telling a story. And some really beautiful pieces of theatre were created. As soon as we went into lockdown it reminded me of this exercise. It feels like a time to go back to basics, and I’m excited to see what I can learn from this time and take back into larger productions when this is all over.
Do you have a routine to stay creative? Do you think what you’re going through will impact your practice long term?
There are lots of incredible resources available at the moment – masterclass has great courses. There are also loads of great plays to watch online for free – this is an amazing resource that I would have really loved growing up (as I lived in an area where there weren’t any theatres, and was in a situation where I could only very rarely travel to go and see plays.) I would have been able to learn so much from everything that is now available. Zoom has also been a great platform for sharing skills with other LAMDA grads. We’ve had a great time keeping active with some of my multi-talented class mates leading ‘dancersize’ and yoga classes.
I work much better when I am around other people, part of this might come from the ensemble training we get at LAMDA. I was very aware from an early stage how much I could learn from the people around me, and most importantly the strength and support we could all give each other by working as a team. – although zoom is great, I’ve had to force myself to try and find more solo ways of working. Which I’m hoping will turn out to have been a healthy thing to do. To spend more time creatively by myself, practicing self discipline and taking stock of my own creative process.
Is there any advice you would like to share to fellow artists, audiences or organizations on how to find resilience?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is a global pandemic going on. It’s more than enough to just be able to get through this safe and sane. Yes, it’s a big time of change and an opportunity to try and grab something positive. I think with it feeling like everything has suddenly stopped, we’re confronted with a time for reflection and it’s all too easy to focus on the things you wish had turned out differently– it’s so important to count all your successes to. And at the moment just getting through this horrible situation together and being there for one another is a huge success. There’s a lot going on at the moment, be kind to others and be kind to yourself.
What are your hopes for the future?
As with any challenge I hope that I’ll hold onto all the positive things I’ve learnt in this time of change. And that I’ll use everything that I’ve learnt to effectively push my work forwards.
Feel free to add anything else you’d like to mention including any remote activity you’d like audiences to take part in or if you have anything to plug, shows being aired… anything.
I’m in a few episodes of ‘Brave New World’ a new tv series made by Universal And Amblin Television starring Demi Moore, Alden Ehrenreich and Jessica Brown Findlay. The series will be launching the new streaming service ‘Peacock’ around mid July – although as with all arts programming at the moment that date is possibly subject to change. It was so much fun to work on a sci-fi, and so great to be shooting parts of it not too far from my home in Wales! I’m really excited for everyone to see what’s been made.
Stay safe everyone! Carys