Brendan Matthew

Brendan Matthew on cancelled tours and the gift of time

Brendan Matthew is a freelance, award nominated, theatre director, actor and singer in South East London. As a creative he has worked at such prestigious theatres as The Union Theatre, the Vaults, the York Theatre Royal, Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, The Old Vic and recently the Adelphi Theatre, London. He is also a member of the European vocal group Gregorian. His most recent roles include originating the title role in the UK tour of ‘Guy the Musical’ and Albus Dumbledore in ‘Voldemort and the Teenage Hogwart Musical Parody’ (Edinburgh and UK Tour). He is Artistic Director of the new Theatre Company CR8TRACT Theatre and also serves as an Assessor for the Off-West End Theatre Award board. Here he reflects on how the pandemic has impacted his life.

When the lockdown was announced, I was sitting in a bar in an airport waiting to board a plane to Prague, where I was going to continue the next leg of an arena tour I had been working on since Christmas. Our tour manager called me up and said “Hi Brendan, I’ve heard from the promoters and they’ve cancelled all future performances”. The financial backlash on this proved difficult as I had started up my own theatre company ‘CR8TRACT Theatre’ a year before and was planning on investing my tour wages into our next production of ‘Godspell’. For obvious reasons and the fear that the industry would take its time starting up again, I have postponed the production until 2021.

Whilst Covid-19 has been horrific and heart breaking on many levels, it has also given us the gift of time that we don’t usually have. I am reading more and investing my time into watching masterclasses and seminars given by my fellow theatre industry creatives. It is a perfect opportunity to learn more about my craft as I have always found the creative process of others fascinating. I have signed up to the Masterclass website and I’m using the time to really improve my mind and practices. As well as learning more about the craft, reading and watching television I have also signed up to an online massage course with the New Skills Academy. I’ve always had secret massage skills that I have picked up from my earlier training days at drama school. Since then many theatre folk have told me that I should have taken it up professionally and now, because of the free time, I can now train to be a CPD registered professional masseur as a side occupation to my directing and performing work.

At the moment, times are made harder by the fact that I’m currently living with my family who are all high risk and therefore told to stay at home. I’m under the ‘shielding’ category and follow by the same rules. My only key to the outside world is really my online Zoom conversations with friends. So it’s difficult that I can’t go out and do the weekly shopping or even exercise outside my house but the courses, masterclasses and Zoom meetings keep me busy. As horrible as it is, I know I will come out of this having opened my mind to many new creative practices and have the ability to give one top notch full body massage as well.

Contact Brendan @brenmatthew

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