Keeping well during a global pandemic – an interview with actress and writer Kara Chamberlain

article published originally in August 2020

Slowing down and exploring what joy is when life is a little smaller has helped me to navigate all the pressure to ‘achieve’ things during this time. 

Kara Chamberlain

I am talking to Kara Chamberlain, who is… [Tell me about yourself]

A Canadian actress, theatre producer, and writer based in London.  

How London lockdown impacted your creative process? Did it make you approach things differently, explore new projects? 

Lockdown completely closed the entertainment industry overnight, taking away a lot of my work – the Edinburgh Fringe was cancelled, auditions stopped, everything shut down. That meant all my 2020 artistic work went out the window, and for the first couple of months I struggled to find any inspiration or creative motivation.

Eventually, my creativity began to resurface, and I decided to just give in to whimsy and pursue whatever inspired me. I began knitting, which gave me a lot of satisfaction and time to think. Then I started singing again, and it felt like my muse woke up and suddenly I had an influx of ideas. I’ve been doing a lot of writing over the past few months, and it is creating new and exciting opportunities that I would not have pursued otherwise. 

What is Crossline Theatre and how did the idea come from?

7 years ago my friend and creative other half, Natalia Knowlton, and I began working together as Crossline Theatre to create and produce new plays.

It started in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, when Natalia had an idea for a play she wanted to write for the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival. We got a group of artists together, came up with the name Crossline, and we’ve been Crossline Theatre ever since. Our upcoming show, Friday Night Love Poem, was meant to be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. Thankfully we will be back in 2021! 

What is your biggest challenge at this time of global pandemic? 

Through lockdown I was working in an independent health shop. The constant changes in rules and behaviour have been stressful, and being a frontline worker through the pandemic has taken its toll on my mental health. Despite the stress, working at the shop has given me a sense of purpose and a way to contribute during this time.

To find out more about my experience, you can check out “My Latest Role”, a collection of portraits by photographer Ali Wright:

Headshot: photo by Ruth Crafer

What is the first thing you’re looking forward to when arts performances reopen? 

Sitting in a theatre and watching a show. I am aching to be back on stage, but what I really want is the experience of going to the theatre – going to see something that sparks my emotions and imagination, sharing that space with fellow audience members and having a collective moment, the simple joy of drinking a glass of wine at the theatre bar.

Theatre has always been a place of connection and catharsis, and I can’t wait to be back in that world again. 

How do you take care of yourself during this time? 

Lots of gentleness! I feel like there has been this push to come out of lockdown looking your best and feeling your best and living your best life – and as appealing as all of that sounds it’s just not realistic.

I am spending this time reconnecting to simple things, like cups of tea and watering my plants. I’ve created a loose structure to my days, and have adjusted my idea of ‘productivity’. Slowing down and exploring what joy is when life is a little smaller has helped me to navigate all the pressure to ‘achieve’ things during this time. 

Where we can find you? Online and offline 🙂 

Read Crossline Theatre’s new blog, about creativity and the artistic lifestyle, here:

To stay up to date with my creative work, follow my social media: 

Twitter: @kara_chamb 

Insta: @kara_chamb 

And in the real world I’ll be taking a break in nature any chance I get. 

Thank you so much, Kara for joining us. It was a pleasure to chat with you!

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