Artists and Covid-19

by Joanne Roberts

Makrenna didn’t ask for this article, but I thought I’d write it anyway. We’re all feeling the effects of self-isolation because of Covid-19. Most of us are out of work - entire theatre runs being cut short or cancelled altogether, concerts, film productions, this heartbreaking list goes on… But just because our lives have perhaps stalled, it does not mean we as artists can’t do our part to lessen the strain that’s being put on us. People are turning to all forms of art to sustain us.

So what can we do?

1) Keep putting out content.

That film in post-production? Put it out anyway. That dramatic reading of the Tinder conversation you promised your best friend you would do for her a year ago? Now’s the time. (Check in on my Instagram. It’s coming.) Everyone is looking for something, anything to make them laugh. Reflect on. Feel some joy. Maybe it’s not the most ideal situation to put out some content, but now is a time when people need it most.

2) Keep working.

It’s hard. Finding the motivation for myself to even write these articles took a few days of lounging in bed, feeling sad… But any moment of motivation that comes my way, I take for as long as I have it. Remember that script you put down and decided to write later? You can do that now. Do you have new projects in your head? Do them. We’re limited, but that gives us a chance to be creative. What can you shoot with the people you’re living with and a phone?

3) Communicate.

We have the luxury of communication. Right now, not only am I using all this time and Wi-Fi to catch up with people I care about, I’m also using it to get some creative projects off the ground. I wonder if I can get enough people on board to shoot a movie remotely. What would that look like? All the lines of communication are open for everything we can imagine.

4) Stay positive.

This one is hard. But I’m finding that even though I’m definitely in a downwards slump, it doesn’t take a lot for me to share something positive or inspiring on my Instagram stories. To wish someone well. To share something that helped me get through my day. Positive doesn’t mean happy all the time, but knowing that this is temporary and sharing some lights in this darkness goes a long way.

5) Take care of yourself.

I’ve been seeing this whole Shakespeare writing King Lear in quarantine. And while that sounds so wonderful to do, know that we don’t have to write the next Oscar-winning script to have made this quarantine worthwhile. What do you need to do? Nap like you haven’t napped in ages? Do it. Do you need to sit and reflect on something that’s been bothering you? Take all the time you need. This time is about supporting each other, but also supporting yourself. Whatever it is you need to do to stay happy and healthy, do it. Stay well, everyone. I can’t wait to see you all when this is over.

PS We’re weeks into this and I still don’t understand why people are hoarding toilet paper. Someone explain it to me.

Joanne Roberts

Blog Contributor

Joanne Roberts is a multilingual Canadian actress best known for originating the role of Janelle in the Evie nominated co-production of Que faire d'Albert/What To Do With Albert. She is also a producer for Ode Productions, and is a co-founder for the Winnipeg theatre company, Wonderful and Meatballs.


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