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Kiln Theatre. Photo by Philip Vile.

Kiln Theatre

Claire Perkins, Alvita, The Wife of Willesden, Kiln Theatre  

What has the journey back to theatre been like for you? 

I got this job before lockdown and then during lockdown they withdrew the offer, so I was like ‘Oh my God’, because I was filming three things during lockdown and as lockdown ended I was going ‘here this day’, ‘there that day’ and they didn’t know when the show would be on, but luckily it’s all worked out fine. I was really happy because, although it’s good to work, I would have been screwing if I’d been doing another job and had not been able to do this show!

How is being back?  

Great, it’s great. I did two West End shows before lockdown and it was the first time I’ve been in the West End. Two shows which both transferred, which was fantastic. Then I went off and did a bit of telly, and so it was like, ‘it would be great to get back into theatre’.  

So, coming back and being at the Kiln, where I’ve worked before when it was the Tricycle and I’ve worked with Indu [Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of the Kiln Theatre] twice before. So, it’s great. Zadie’s [Zadie Smith] writing and I’ve got s**t loads of lines, but it’s fun. 

What have you missed most about live performance? 

Well, we’re still in rehearsals – but the thing about rehearsals is, I love all different forms of acting but there’s nothing like being in rehearsals with a group of people for four weeks, especially when I only knew one member of this cast, so you’re literally getting to know everybody and then they’re like family. It’s really good fun, we just get to play all day…and obviously learn our lines and stuff! 

How are you feeling about having a live performance? 

I feel okay, but I’ve got a lot of lines. I’m not panicking, but the front of my head was like, ‘yeah, I’m cool’ but I knew there was this little person standing in the back of my head going like ‘ahhh’! But, I think she’s shut up now…she’s not screaming anymore, so that’s good. 

 

Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director, Kiln Theatre

What has the journey been like to reopen your theatre?  

It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey. It’s had incredible lows and it’s been really, beyond the pale concern and worry about…even the future of theatre.  

But, in the lockdown, I think what it made me really appreciate was how much I love what I do. I’d forgotten. What we do is about collaboration, it’s about a community. It’s about working with other people and being vulnerable, empathetic and creative. So, it’s been a hard process to come back, but it’s also been a beautiful process as well. 

Being back is really emotional. It’s incredibly emotional to be with a group of people in a rehearsal room. Then, to have a live audience come in – nothing compares to it.

What have you missed most about live performance? 

I’ve missed the rehearsal room, working with actors, the technical staff and the creative team to create something which is bigger than any one person’s vision.