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  • Mat Rees

Getting our mojo back

Mojo is an odd word, isn't it?

I'm not sure I know what it means, but it's a word I've been hearing a lot lately. People keep telling me that they've lost it, or that they can't find it. And they only ever talk about it in the singular, never 'mojos'. If it's so important, you'd think people would have a spare. I'm not sure I ever had a mojo to lose – but it's clear that other people have lost theirs. In fact, it seems as if there's a mojo supply problem in the UK, so perhaps that's something else we can put down to Brexit, the war in Ukraine, the pandemic... Ah, yes: the pandemic. Two years living locked up in a house with few places to go or things to do, has meant that, for some of us, our mojo has been mislaid. For others, those who were forced to continue going out to work in extreme conditions and often putting their lives on the line, it feels as if their mojo has been drained. But for all of us – and I'm talking about the whole country, here, not just Kelvin Players – it feels like a malaise has settled over us, as we struggle to motivate ourselves to go back to our old way of life. After being told how to live our lives for so long, the idea of just returning to what we were doing pre-pandemic still seems a distant concept. What did we even do before it started, anyway!? In two years, our world has shrunk so much it barely exists beyond the end of our garden (if we have one). It feels as if we're suffering from a trauma. So many of us lost loved ones due to the pandemic, sometimes unable to grieve their passing. If it wasn't the trauma of losing someone, it might have been the stress of continuing to work, often with little support. For others, those of us who were clinically extremely vulnerable, there was the fear of getting ill, developing long covid or even dying. And for many who lived alone or in house shares with no loved ones around them, there was the social isolation. We theatre folk are social beasts – we enjoy the chat, camaraderie, laughs, and gossip that come with being in a theatre company. Suddenly, many of us were reduced to going days without speaking to anyone. It’s no surprise, then, that so many of us are struggling to acclimatise. If the thought of reconnecting with people and rebuilding relationships fills you with fear, you're not alone. How can we overcome this? How can we return to the world that existed before lockdown, getting back to what we used to do and the things we used to love? Of course, not everyone feels this way, and we’ve been able to welcome many fresh faces through the studio doors in the last few months – people keen to get out and try new things. However, many recognisable faces have stayed away. We want you to know this: you're not alone, and we do miss you. We know it's not easy, but we don't want to lose you. You're still a part of this club, and you will always be welcome back through those studio doors. We know social anxiety is a thing – and whether you've been a member for a long time or you've just joined, it can still feel worrying, even traumatic, to see big groups of people. In the meantime, how can we help you get your mojo back? Well, there are lots of opportunities to visit the studio in the next few weeks. There's the Jane Eyre launch night this weekend which you can come along just listen to if you like. There is the next rehearsed reading on Saturday 2 April, which anyone can come along to and watch – and you can bring friends and family, too. And then there's the Comedy of Errors this Easter – have you volunteered to do stewarding, box office or bar? We'd love to have your help. Or you can just come along and watch – and catch up with friends in Higson's Bar afterwards. I'll be there, handing out mojos for anyone who want one...

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