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UK's Lockdown Theatre Company's New Zealand film goes live

Auckland, August 13 (JY&A Media) In an extraordinary irony, the release of the UK-based Lockdown Theatre Company’s (LTC) An Actor Resigns, performed by well known actor and TV producer Nigel Godfrey, came on the day that Auckland, New Zealand, his hometown, headed back into a partial lockdown, after New Zealand had enjoyed a record-breaking 102 days free from community transmission of COVID-19.
   Like most in his profession, Nigel Godfrey found himself at a loose end in lockdown. Back in March he wondered what the future held for his profession in a post-COVID world, as he saw a Japanese tour of Phantom of the Opera that we was acting in cancelled. Wearing his hat as a producer he had to postpone Miss World in New Zealand for 2020, and as an actor playing Graham Walker on Shortland Street he experienced the enforced break that lockdown delivered.
   So what did he do for the seven weeks of lockdown? According to Nigel, ‘Lots of walking; I made a long list of jobs that needed doing around the house, and then didn’t do any of them; I planned a raft of projects that I now need to get on to. I bonded with the cat and did an enormous amount of thinking—and drinking. I got in touch with people I hadn’t spoken to for a while, many of whom were in other countries. And although travel had stopped, I felt the world became strangely smaller.’
   One of the people he was in touch with was Rohan Candappa in the UK, an old school friend and an author who has sold over a million books. Rohan infamously, when “let go” from a very well paid position in the advertising industry, used the experience to write a play entitled How I Said F*ck You to the Company After They Made Me Redundant, which did rather well in Edinburgh. He’s also the founder and artistic director of the LTC.
   The premise for the LTC is that Rohan creates and writes the scripts and then the actors work with him remotely on the presentation. They are then filmed by the actors on Ipads or phones and go back to Rohan for the upload and release. By the time Nigel’s script was ready, New Zealand had in fact come out of lockdown, so in his words, ‘I felt a bit of a fraud. I was able to slip into a friend’s TV studio and film the piece on proper gear, but the essence of the work is the same as those filmed by all of the UK actors, who were working in slightly more challenging conditions. Little did I know when it released, we’d be back in lockdown.’
   On this particular episode, Rohan said, ‘One of the reasons that I wanted to work with Nigel is that he is in New Zealand. As the Lockdown Theatre Company has grown in scope and ambition since it started in March, it became apparent that our way of working meant we weren’t limited by geography. We could work with anyone across the UK and to prove the point why not take it to the extreme? Why not try to produce something worth saying and worth seeing, while working with someone half a world away?’
   Nigel said, ‘To be honest I was really honoured that Rohan asked me to perform his work. I think that his vision is extraordinary. I was lucky enough to attend one of his “thread mash” gigs, which are an evening of spoken word performance, when I was back in London at Christmas. We met up the next day at the National Theatre and following that I knew that we’d work together on something, I just didn’t know it would be this.’
   Both Rohan and Nigel went to Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, a school with an extraordinary pedigree for the arts. Founded by Edward Alleyn in 1619, the theatre manager who first discovered William Shakespeare, the school has a long list of celebrated performance alumni, including, Simon Ward (Young Winston, Judge John Deed), Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only, Game of Thrones), John Stride (A Bridge Too Far), Ken Farrington (Coronation Street, Families, Emmerdale), Frank Thornton (Are You Being Served?), Nicholas Day (Minder, New Tricks) and more recently Jude Law, Hanna and Jesse Ware, the Chemical Brothers, Florence of Florence and the Machine, and Samuel West and Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen, both of whom were contemporaries of Nigel and Rohan.
   This is the second season of 10 films, making 20 in total, each one delivered by a different actor with each script conveying a different message. Nigel is hopeful that when COVID-19 is finally over, perhaps all of those involved in the LTC can physically come together and work on something, and he has no doubt that Rohan could write something befitting such an auspicious event.
   An Actor Resigns, written by Rohan Candappa and performed by Nigel Godfrey is live on YouTube from Wednesday, August 12 at youtu.be/DV1NQ9oDqPI.
Nigel Godfrey
Nigel Godfrey, who performs An Actor Resigns, for the Lockdown Theatre Company
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Rohan Candappa, founder of Lockdown Theatre Company
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Rohan Candappa, founder of Lockdown Theatre Company
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Nigel Godfrey
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+64 21 630-443