Introduction // Hannah Steele
I've known hannah since I was 5 years old as we grew up on the same cul-de-sac. Of all my friends, she has been most impacted financially by the virus, with a long stretch of zero work for both her and her partner, both being actors. I invited Hannah to be part of the project out of a curiosity of what two actors might get up to when locked down in a one bedroom flat together for months on end. This is what she has to say about her situation:
We are both actors and so when lockdown hit, our day to day life didn't change dramatically but we were faced with the very real scenario of our industry disappearing completely. Overnight all filming and recording work we had lined up went and we watched with sadness as theatres closed, knowing that it is going to be years before our industry would be back to any sort of normal.
Once the initial grief and panic dissolved, or numbed itself, we began to adapt to a new daily normal, and slowly creativity began to creep back in.
We adapted my wardrobe into a recording studio. Days were spent failing to get the soundproof foam to adhere to Ikea MDF. A small fortune was spent on glue, no nails wall hangings, double-sided tape. Trusty PVA and cardboard proved to be the saviour.
From here I recorded a voice reel, our quarantine space becoming smaller, a little den with a microphone balanced precariously on books, the script lit up with the torch on my phone.
The space has enabled us to generate income as our industry slowly adapts. Harry has dubbed a Netflix series from this space, we've recording cartoons, and provided background voices for crowd scenes in movies and tv shows. 12 hours in a wardrobe with a towel around your head feels less strange now than the idea of getting on a tube and traveling through central London to a recording studio.
One day Harry had to record the sound of someones gangrenous leg being amputated without anaesthetic. That was relaxing to listen to.....less fun for our neighbours...
A space we created for work blurred into a space where we could connect with loved ones. We missed our nieces and nephews - small children can't connect in the same way via zoom - interaction comes through physical contact and play. We were able to use our new recording set up to record their favourite books. So we could still be present in their lives.
Our daily walks organically found creativity. Harry has an Instagram following after a Netflix tv series he was in and one day posted a picture of our local park pretending it was his garden. The amount of people who thought he genuinely lived in the grounds of Hampton Court palace amused us, and spurred us to create video tours of his grounds. A partridge-esq comedy character slowly evolved, and an Instagram mini-series kept us occupied for 36 days.