Trailer: Another Mother’s Son starring Jenny Seagrove
Would-be actors are being driven away from a career on stage because of wokeness and lockdown, says TV and theatre star Jenny Seagrove.
She believes that while “woke” culture has brought about some improvements in the acting world it has also taken the fun out of the profession and turned certain areas into “minefields”.
The actress adds that lockdown has changed people’s perception of work and made many would-be recruits shy away from the unsociable hours of acting.
Jenny is appearing in a new play alongside Martin Shaw – her on-screen lover in hit ITV drama Judge John Deed.
In Alone Together, written by The Archers actor Simon Williams, they play a couple divided and navigating challenges in a world of grief and disconnection.
READ MORE: Grisly burial pit found at abandoned UK settlement ‘highly significant'[LATEST]
Jenny, 66, has a long relationship with the theatre. Her partner is producer Bill Kenwright, who has been Martin’s best friend for 40 years.
Martin and Jenny both believe theatre plays a crucial role in the nation’s cultural landscape – but Jenny said she worried about those fresh to the acting world. She said: “I came across someone entering the business and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this, I want a life’, which I can’t understand because it is my life.
“But people got used to easy hours in lockdown and they want their evenings and their weekends.
“We don’t have that on stage or even filming sometimes – you give up your life. I often joke that work does get in the way of my social life but it’s a vocation. A lot of people now are coming into the business and saying, ‘this isn’t for me.’
“I find that really sad.”
She said that while welcome in some areas, woke culture had made performing less fun. She explained: “The business is changing in a way. I am going to add to really difficult territory here but it has changed because of wokeness.
“It’s not as much fun as it was because you really do, and quite rightly, have to think before you give someone a hug, and think about what you say all the time.
“It’s sort of become a minefield. It used to be a real community and a family of people who were spontaneous and, yes, sometimes inappropriate. But actually sometimes when you are among people you trust the inappropriate isn’t inappropriate.
“I’ve worked with people who really got in my space and who abused me and it’s not nice, but the business has changed. An awful lot of the fun has been lifted, so the compensation of giving up your life, as it were, to become part of this family – you start thinking ‘I am not sure if I want to do this.”
She said this added to the difficulties to a sector already buckling after the deprivations of the pandemic years. The hospitality and entertainment industries were hit particularly hard by lockdown, and the current cost-of-living crisis has made the situation even worse.
She said: “The industry is being kicked and it’s not really recovered, you know. I run a charity and we have some elderly people who actually support us financially and I said I was doing this play and they went, ‘We used to go to the theatre all the time and we got out of the habit. We just haven’t got back into it’.
“And there is the cost-of-living crisis so it’s even less possible to go to the theatre. It is just tragic.”
Martin, 78, who starred as Doyle in The Professionals, said that social interaction was as vital as medical interventions when it came to general health.
He explained: “Somebody once said to me if there were no theatres there would be more people in hospitals and I took a minute to think about that. There was a survey recently about what is the most life-enhancing and life-extending. They had all these lists you know, vitamin C, exercise, sleep.
“It found social interaction is more important for extending your life and keeping you healthy than sleep, vitamin C or exercise.
“An incredible thing about theatre is you’ve got this essence of social interaction because you’ve got people on stage. You are socially interacting to the point of exhaustion in order to get your experience to 500 or 1,000 people if you’re lucky. You’re socially interacting with their concentration and comradeship.”
Jenny agreed, saying: “I actually think he’s right because what happens on stage sometimes profoundly affects people.
“It can just be as simple as having someone having a laugh when they need it. It can be a life lesson. It can be incredibly valuable.”
Another problem for those eyeing a career on stage was the lack of acting in schools, Jenny said. She argued that this would help youngsters communicate in person in an increasingly digital world.
She said: “I’m on a rant now, but what about theatres in schools, in education? It’s nothing like when we started. It’s about young people learning to communicate. The way society is going you won’t see other people at all, in fact let’s all be AI.”
But both are excited about their new project that puts them onstage together. They have previously performed in productions of both Love Letters and The Cherry Orchard.
Yet while the pair are firm friends they are seldom mistaken for a couple, laughs Martin.
He said: “It was always very clear that Jen’s partner, Bill, has been my oldest friend for about 40 years and that Jen and I have been friends for about 25.
“It’s called acting and we can switch it on and off.”
Jenny adds: “I did get an awful lot of, ‘God he’s sexy. I’m really jealous!’ at the time.”
She said she had seen Martin on television last week and admitted: “I did zoom in and he is tasty.”
But could Judge John Deed, which attracted nine million viewers for its finale, make a comeback?
“The door is always open as far as we’re concerned,” said Martin. “Nothing would please me more but I don’t think the BBC would do it. I think they’ve moved on.”
Jenny added: “Maybe it’s best to leave them wanting more.”
● Alone Together premieres at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Monday August 7 to Saturday, August 19 www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Source: Read Full Article