1.What were you doing for work before the pandemic?
[My husband I] were both working for a theatre company here in Halifax on a contract basis. Part of our work is administering and running the education programs, the tuition from which is almost entirely where our pay comes from in the budget. We had to suspend classes, so that income no longer existed, and so we had to do an EXTREMELY reduced, part-time contract for the Spring. Then, we were set to take the acting contract for the Summer, 15 weeks of Equity work (enough to have full insurance for 6 months and year-round off-contract insurance), which was entirely cancelled.
2.What do you miss spending money on these days?
Honestly, I really just miss going to plays, and having a cocktail or a mocktail afterwards. The ability to adjust to changing circumstances has made the artist life livable up to this point, and so I only feel derived in the sense that I miss the activities we don’t get to do right now.
3.How do you think your spending will change after the pandemic?
I think we will be a little more aggressive with our saving. I also have found that we are spending more money than before on groceries, since restaurants have been closed, but that’s actually saving us money overall. We are both better cooks now, which is great.
4.What are your tips on how to cut costs?
Making your own food is the biggest thing. Ingredients cost way less than pre-made items. I’ve been doing huge batch cooks (soups, chilli, quiches, baked goods to freeze for later, shepherd’s pies, pancakes, etc) and it makes it so easy to eat good food at home.
5.Do you feel that there is uncertainty about how your work will look after the pandemic ends? If so, what are you doing to cope with this uncertainty?
My work outside of being a contracting actor is pretty tuition-dependent. But I’m cautiously optimistic that it looks like it’s going to return to some version of normal come Fall. We probably won’t have the growth we were hoping to see this year, but I’ll be thankful just to be able to return to something consistent. The parents of our students have been enormously supportive and appreciative of all the energy we’re putting in to keep everybody super safe, but also give the kids something to focus on that is social and creative. I’m thankful to the kids for the same thing! Without being able to actually do plays, teaching amazing, smart, talented kids how to be in plays is a good way to fill the time. The only way to really cope with uncertainty surrounding that is just to try to channel that energy into doing a really good job of planning for the year and administering really strong online and outdoor classes this summer so that the kids continue to want to engage. That’s not always easy, but truly, it’s the best thing.