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Tamsin Greig: 'To go out and see a story put on stage is a coming to yourself'

Greig is starring in the upcoming Romeo and Juliet

Tamsin Greig
© Dan Wooller

During an interview for the National Theatre's Romeo and Juliet, award-winning performer Tamsin Greig summed up what has struck her the most over the last year of lockdown. We decided to print her response in full here, as a separate article, because it feels rather powerful:

I think the thing that has struck me the most through this year is the essential nature of performance, which requires freelance creatives, who have been devastated over the last year. There has been no safety net for them.

There has not been enough support, and in many cases, there has been no support. This industry has lost creatives. Some of which we will never ever get back. There has been, and there will be a death toll in this industry, and it's a wake-up call.

People used to see creativity as "something you see in the evening", or a "distraction". I think what we've seen this year is that creativity is not a distraction. It's about our lifeblood. Demond Tutu says: "If you tell your story and you name your hurts, you are beginning a journey of profound mental health."

To go out and see a story put on stage is a coming to yourself, one that says "I'm going to engage with my own mental health". When we get back into theatres and engage in live performance again, hopefully we will see how we have all been holding our breaths and lost something of our life – by not engaging with that act of supreme health.

You can read the full interview between Greig, director Simon Godwin and co-star Fisayo Akinade here.

Greig stars in Romeo and Juliet, which is being presented on Sky Arts' free-to-view channel on Sunday at 9pm in the UK.