A Week in the Life of a Theatre Student: Lockdown Edition
During the many extended family Zoom calls I’ve had over the last year, one question has always popped up: how does a theatre degree work in a pandemic? My answer to this question has changed throughout the last few months, with each new set of restrictions changing how the degree has worked. Despite the many changes, the department has continued to adapt and support us the best they can, with the classes adapting with the online format. Therefore, I decided that I would share what a week in my life looks like currently, during the UK’s third lockdown, writing down my activities this past week to give an example of what a theatre student does during lockdown.
Monday started with a lovely slow morning, chilling in the house and doing some chores. At 12.30, I joined an optional meeting over Teams to discuss our practical dissertation projects, focusing specifically on tech. This was a great chance to ask all the technical questions I had about how the piece would run next term, and being able to turn off my camera and make lunch part way through was an added plus! The rest of the afternoon was spent doing research for an essay about gender and YouTube, which involved a lovely few hours of watching some vlogs – who says research can’t be fun? In the evening, I tried out a new recipe I had found for seafood mac n cheese, which was absolutely delicious! One thing I have liked about lockdown is actually having the time to properly cook, as opposed to grabbing a sandwich between classes and rehearsals like last year.
I spent Tuesday morning going over the notes I made for my class later in the day. With the lockdown, I have generally found myself doing all my readings over the weekend, which means I often need to take a quick look at my notes to remind myself what we’ll be looking at in class! After a rush at 12 as me and my housemates all tried to make our lunch before our seminar started, we settled in front of our laptops for our ‘Author Dies Hard’ module, which looks at authorship in writing and performance. The session was really fun, and we had the opportunity to express our creativity by creating online responses to a prompt in groups over Teams. This resulted in some fun performances playing around with cameras, microphones and some close ups of our eyes!
On Wednesday I woke up feeling unusually active, so I decided to try out one of the Joe Wicks workouts. While it was definitely tiring, I felt great afterwards, and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. After lunch, I joined a meeting for people applying to the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme, where students are given funding to carry out their own independent research projects outside of the degree. The meeting was very informative, and really got me thinking about writing my application. Afterwards, I spent a few hours planning my essay before meeting one of my friends for a socially distanced walk. Being able to chat and catch up was a much needed break from work – even if all we had to catch up on was our lockdown netflix adventures.
By Thursday morning the bad weather had finally cleared, so my housemate and I went for a run in our local park. Both of us are currently working our way through the ‘couch to 5k’ app and although we’re on different weeks, having someone running around the same space is really motivating, and means we can’t make excuses for skipping runs! In the afternoon I had my gender seminar, which was focusing on South Asian women and their experiences of gender. While the topic was challenging, the discussions we had were really fruitful and encouraged me to think about the topic in a whole new way. In the evening, my housemates and I ordered a takeaway and watched a few episodes of ‘Desperate Housewives’, our current favourite show, which was a great end to the day – even if we did end up watching a few too many episodes.
While I didn’t have any classes or meetings on Friday, that didn’t mean it was a day off! In the morning I made a trip to my local supermarket to pick up some food and other supplies. Last year, I found food shopping a stressful inconvenience in my day, but this year I have grown to really enjoy it, especially as I shop reasonably early so it’s quite empty in the store. After the tiring walk back up the hill to get my stuff home, I made lunch and spent the afternoon starting to write my essay for my gender module. In the evening, my housemates and I crowded around a laptop to join a workshop run by Codpiece theatre society. The workshop was all around creating work in the spaces around us, and we were encouraged to make work in our homes to show to each other. This was a really relaxing, low pressure, creative end to the week, and was a great way to unwind before the weekend of reading and writing.
Hopefully, this has given you a little insight into what life is like for a theatre student during lockdown! While I do miss running around campus from class to meeting to rehearsal, having the space to take things slow and make time for myself has been lovely, and I very much appreciate all the seminar leaders and student societies who are finding ways for us to stay creative during this time.