My Latest Role Ali Wright Paul Valentine Theatre Key Workers

When lockdown started I was working Front of House Hosting at Southbank Centre and Tour Guiding with Hidden London whilst searching and auditioning for acting roles.

I heard on the news about supermarkets looking for staff, as they were being affected by panic buying and staff sickness and got a job working at Tesco. I worked nights, partly because of the better pay and partly as it reduced contact with people. It was funny because when I got the job, everyone was thanking me for being a key worker - which was really nice, but I hadn't actually considered it like that at first. It was more personal survival mode.

I did 4 shifts a week, Friday to Monday 11pm - 7am. And I was a 'Stock Replenishment Assistant' - so shelf stacking. I'd be moving crates of stock to and from the stockroom to the isles. Decking (laying the stock on the floor where it was needed) and then stacking the shelves. Usually at around 3am a new delivery would come in and I would deck and stock that too.

I'm the Chair of PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) Southbank, so I am currently negotiating for all workers there. I'm also on Equity Council, where we topped up the Equity benevolent fund to a million pounds in order to help people struggling during the pandemic. 

Personally I received financial support when the furlough scheme came in, so some money came in from my two day jobs. However,  I have now been let go as a temporary worker by Tesco so I’m back to square one. With the furlough scheme not lasting much longer, and theatres not ready to let people back in just yet, I am in for a very difficult autumn/winter financially.