These recent times have been some of the hardest challenges we’ve faced and as a community, it hit us pretty hard. However during these difficult times, here at Pocket Size Theatre, we wanted to spread a little positivity and share some peoples experiences because we are all in this together. Each day we’ll be speaking to our friends in the industry to share their experiences with you all so take a read and see how people are getting through these hard times.
Let’s stick together, share the love and get through this as a community!
Ellie Ann Lowe is currently in the London cast of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre. Her other credits include Gloria in Return to the Forbidden Planet (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Amalia in Carmen (The Union); Adriana in Comedy of Errors (Antic Disposition at Gray’s Inn Hall/South of France Tour); Pauline Clench in One Man, Two Guvnors and Anna Truman in Deadly Nightcap (Theatre Royal Windsor); ensemble in Miracle on 34th Street (Madinat Theatre, Dubai); Dusty Springfield in Dusty(Charing Cross); Connie/cover Annette/swing in Saturday Night Fever (UK tour) and ensemble in Love Story(Union Theatre).
On Monday 16th March 2020, The Society of London Theatre announced the closure of all Theatres in London. This followed suit with regional venues. Where were you when you found out and what was your initial reaction?
I had just arrived to the Sondheim Stage Door and was told to go home! I knew my dressing room ladies were in the building so I nipped in to see them and we all had a cuddle and a natter. We then went down to the see the lads in dressing room 1 and most of the cast were already there. It was nice to see everyone before heading home. We even have a video from that very moment where one of the cast members can be heard saying, “do we think it’s just going to be a week?” – if only!
Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing?
A couple of Les Mis cast members have been fantastic with hosting a yoga and a work out session each week for us which has kept us connected as a cast as well as keeping fit! I’ve found I’ve had more time to experiment with my baking, more time to read and to go on lovely walks in the Hertfordshire countryside with my dog! Two months into lockdown I’m starting to really miss singing now and am going to delve into my rep again – expect a cheeky vid!
Whenever you log onto social media there is so much negativity circulating. How have you been trying to keep a positive mental attitude during these times?
If it ain’t good for you – unfollow it! Sometimes this is easier said than done but I find keeping busy and listening to yourself the best thing to do. Everyone is going to respond to this time differently and chatting to those you trust is the best thing to do. Empower yourselves (even if it’s just making your bed) and let’s stop enabling those sad days!
With the Arts temporarily shut down, how would you advise people to continue to support the Arts industries?
If you can afford it, try to donate your ticket money to the company of the show rather than accepting a refund and I would suggest donating when enjoying streaming shows from places such as NT Live. Let’s keep theatre alive!
Have you discovered anything that you’d like to recommend to our viewers?
I really enjoyed both Sally Rooney’s novels and recommend them to everyone I know! I’m looking forward to The National’s streaming of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ – everyone needs to get on that! Even whacking on ‘modern family’ in the background as you go about your day I find uplifting.
In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?!
My local pub asked my husband and I to host the quiz for them online over the lockdown period so we’ve been enjoying that! Writing quizzes is hard work! I love a cheeky FaceTime with my besties and my dressing room ladies and I love a catch-up zoom every week!
And finally, looking to the future, what are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Cuddling my little nephew and being able to hug my family and friends again! I’m gonna ball my eyes out when I walk back into the theatre and see the cast again – I’m going to have to come in very early to get all the tears out of the way!
We’d like to thank Ellie and all other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature.
Other useful links for anyone needing further help:
Acting For Others – Charity that provides financial & emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need.
Help Musicians – An independent Charity that helps all forms of Musicians through times of need.
Industry Minds – Mental Health Support for the creative arts.
Theatre Helpline – a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry.