KARL BEST

I was performing at the National Theatre in The Visit when lockdown was announced. We performed on the Saturday 15th and came back on the Monday for our next performance. We had a meeting with the Artistic Director Rufus Norris who informed us that it would be our final performance as the theatre had been instructed to close. We were asked if we wanted to perform that night (I wanted to 100%) but because there was not an overall consensus to do it we didn’t go on. It was a very emotional evening as we all realised that we would not be able to finish the run and that Saturday was our last performance. We had a get together in the green room to say our goodbyes. That was the last time I actually hugged someone. We still had 30 + performances left and its immediate effect on me was one of loss (both work and personal) as it was my first professional job in the industry.

 

I have also worked in the hospitality sector but, with that world also decimated, luckily the company I worked for also had contracts in the medical industry. They were in need of employees due to staff isolating and fearing the pandemic and offered me a job. I chose it because I believed that having something to do was better than doing nothing at home in isolation as long as I was following healthcare advice.

 

The job is very changeable. Each day can be different from the last. You could be working on a specific ward, moving patients between different wards and departments, working on clinical waste disposal, delivering bloods to the lab or working in A&E .

 

Working at the hospital reiterated to me my resilience in being able to turn my hand to almost anything. And also how, in the face of adversity, NHS staff are calm under pressure. One of the challenges was to keep professional as it could get quite emotional. But nonetheless it was satisfying being able to feel a part of something even if it was quite bleak at times.