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!
Rebecca Lock was most recently seen playing Carmen in Curtains on tour and at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End. Her other credits include Lilli Vanessi/Kate in Kiss Me, Kate & Widow Corney in Oliver! (Sheffield Crucible); Ms Fleming in Heathers (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Cheryl Gillan MP in Committee (Donmar); Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins (UK Tour); Rosie in Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre); Gabrielle in Dear World (Charing Cross Theatre); Svetlana in Chess (Toronto); Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre); Kate Moster/Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q (Noel Coward Theatre); Mary Poppins Alternate in Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre); Jellylorum in Cats (New London Theatre) and Oh What a Lovely War (National 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?
When the decision to close London theatres was announced I was getting ready in my dressing room for our opening night performance of ‘Curtains’ at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre. It was a very odd moment for us all, waiting to be told whether this decision affected us being away on tour. We were told to go on that night and we all knew that this was to be our final show together and whilst it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to go ahead, it gave us an opportunity as a cast to say goodbye to our beloved show and to each other.
Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing?
When we first entered into lockdown I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to do something marvellous; put on a concert in my lounge or give classes, take classes, lose weight, get fit, learn an instrument, a language but for me I’ve had to tell myself “day by day”, just get through today. If you feel the need to sit in your PJs and watch telly all day then go for it, if you want to take three HIT classes and take up knitting then all power to you. I’ve found that giving myself 24hrs to get through at a time has really helped my mind. Looking too far ahead at the “whens” and “hows” can be overwhelming. Do what’s best for you. I’ve always baked, so that has helped me and I have an allotment which I have been visiting every day, something I never get a chance to do. Growing my own veg and keeping it weed-free has given me a real sense of purpose and getting back to nature does wonders for your soul.
There’s so much important information and messages being spread on social media but sometimes it can be quite mentally draining and consume a lot of your time, how have you been looking after your mental state whilst using these platforms?
I think I’ve pretty much answered the next question in the previous one. Social media can be loud, it can be too much, don’t be afraid to switch off. Don’t feel guilty about taking back some silence and solitude. I have my outside space, my allotment, to escape to. I’m so grateful for it. Sitting amongst my plants, the birds singing, the butterflies, the bees, the silence, it’s my meditation.
With the Arts temporarily shut down, how would you advise people to continue to support the Arts industries?
Supporting the arts during this time is vital. Donate where you can. Buy the t-shirt, buy the notebook, stream the concerts and donate donate donate and when the theatres reopen, run to see the shows. We need live theatre, we need connection. We need these stories. However little difference you think you are making I can promise you that it all adds up to making a huge one!
Have you discovered anything that you’d like to recommend to our viewers?
Well, we’ve all gone Netflix crazy so I’m sure everyone has exhausted everything! I’ve devoured everything from documentaries to dark comedies like ‘Dead to me’ (very funny) to gardening programmes to bake off the professionals! I must say, you can’t beat gogglebox on a Friday night to raise a smile.
In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?!
Keeping connected during this time has been super important. I’ve been zooming with pals and family. Quizzes galore! I’m so over fancy dress I can tell you! FaceTime has never been so important.
And finally, looking to the future, what are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
I can’t wait for that first day back in a rehearsal room, to feel the excitement and anticipation of opening a fresh script in a room full of likeminded people. To hear and be part of an audience on the first night that theatres open. I don’t think any of us are going to want to miss out on that. It’s going to be immense. I have to keep telling myself, every day that goes by is one day nearer to getting our world back.
We’d like to thank Rebecca 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.