INTERVIEW: RSC actor Bally Gill #ArtistsInRetreat

Bally Gill
Bally Gill as Romeo embraces Karen Fishwick as Juliet in the RSC’s 2018 production. Photo by Topher McGrillis/RSC

During the lockdown Herald arts finds out how local creatives are dealing with their downtime. Here Bally Gill shares his thoughts.

Tell us about what you do, and how you got started.
I’m an actor and I played Romeo for the RSC’s 2018 version of Romeo and Juliet. I first started acting in Coventry at the Belgrade Theatre when I was about 18 years old. I never thought I’d follow acting as a career but it was like a snowball effect, next thing you know I’m at the RSC.

Where are you spending the lockdown, and who are you with?
I’m spending lockdown in London with my partner.

How are you staying connected with the outside world?
Just through video chatting to my friends and family. I’m actually in contact more with my family than I ever have been. Also watching the news and check social media for the updates but not too often. It can get a little depressing.

Are you managing to do any kind of work?
Definitely reading and watching series/films that have been on my list for a while. And eating healthier and exercising more.

What are the upsides and downsides to being in lockdown?
The upsides are that I’m looking after and preserving myself better than before. There’s a lot more time to look after myself. The downsides are not physically being about to see my family and friends. Just little luxuries, socialising is what I’m missing the most I suppose but in the grand scheme of it that’s nothing compared to what other people are sacrificing.

Do you have any cultural recommendations for keeping entertained during the isolation?
I’m watching a documentary on Netflix called the The Last Dance which focuses the 1997–98 Chicago Bulls basketball team. I’m not massively into basketball but it’s really interesting and I’m hooked. Home on 4OD is one of the smartest and relevant comedies I’ve seen in ages and resonates heavily with me, I urge you to watch it. And obviously Romeo and Juliet on iPlayer!

Any other tips for not going stir crazy?
Just breathe and breathe deep. Keep active; mentally, physically and creatively.

What will be the first thing you do when self-isolation is lifted?
Go see my family and just give them a massive hug!

What help would you like to see being given to the arts community?
The arts are massively hit already and by the time things go back to ‘normal’, who knows what that will look like. In terms of theatres; please donate when and where you can. And engaging with material which they are releasing, in terms of shows or educational packs. And when they do open eventually, your support will be essential.

What lesson would you hope mankind could learn from the coronavirus catastrophe?
Kindness and gratitude for each other and what we have. Also a massive shout out to the NHS for what they have done.

You can watch the RSC’s 2018 production via the BBC iPlayer, click here