20 questions (pandemic edition) with Sébastien Labelle

During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Halifax Presents is checking in with members of our arts community. Today we check in with actor and executive director of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, Sébastien Labelle.

Sébastien Labelle. Photo by Samm Fisher.
Sébastien Labelle. Photo by Samm Fisher.

During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Halifax Presents is checking in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.

First up is Halifax actor, executive director of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op and the festival director for Mayworks K’jipuktuk/Halifax, Sébastien Labelle.

1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?

Crea… what?

2. What’s the one thing getting you through?

Having specific goals – like switching to a digital festival on a dime, or saving a theatre. You know, nothing too ambitious.

3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?

Mostly online and by phone with the occasional backyard visit (two meters apart, of course). Also, we don’t have a bubble… everybody else got picked first… but that’s ok. We’re ok. No, no, really. We don’t need a bubble. It’s ok.

4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?

It’s not just a board game.

5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?

Summer day camps for my kids will happen. Right? Right?

6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?

Answering 20 questions.

7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?

I’ve been putting more time and effort into my Taijiquan (Tai Chi) practice.

8. What have you missed the most?

H.U.M.A.N. C.O.N.T.A.C.T.

9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.

Get a hobby if you don’t already have one. Also, don’t get the virus.

10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.

Screen time.

11. What have you stockpiled?

When you have two kids, anything you stockpile is gone as soon as you turn your back.

12. What have you been reading?

Lots of books about Taijiquan.

13. What have you been watching?

The new She-Ra series with my family. Also, the Black Stories films Cineplex is offering for free right now.

14. What have you been listening to?

The music mixes offered by Mayworks and Everyseeker. Also, Aquakultre.

15. What are you doing for exercise?

Chen style Taijiquan.

16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?

Internet.

17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?

I shave my head on a semi-regular basis. So, no change here.

18. Night owl or early riser?

Night owl by choice. Early riser by kids’ choice.

19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?

I think I’ll be out pretty soon to any location I feel is taking appropriate health and safety measures.

20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?

I don’t think there will be a definitive “it’s over” moment because the unfolding will be so slow and gradual. The closest thing will probably be when they announce a vaccine. So, I guess I’ll be getting in line for one of those.

Meet Sébastien Labelle

Sébastien Labelle is the Executive Director of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, Festival Director for Mayworks K’jipuktuk/Halifax, and a creative collaborator for the River Clyde Pageant in PEI.

Sébastien is also a Merritt Award-nominated actor whose most recent stage work includes
performances in Workshirt Opera’s Tom At the Farm and Matchstick Theatre’s The Woodcutter. His latest film work includes roles in The Good House directed by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky, Taylor Olsen’s Bone Cage and Cory Bowles’ Black Cop. More often than not, he is cast as isolated, broken men with violent tendencies. That, and cops.

Sébastien is also a former union organizer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and long time community organizer working on campaigns for economic and racial justice.