Saturday, 25 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Abigayle Honeywill


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!

Abigayle Honeywill was most recently seen playing Lorelai Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Union Theatre, a role she was nominated for an Offie for Best Actress in a Musical. Her other credits include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (London Palladium); Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty the Musical (Gordan Craig Theatre & UK Tour); Ensemble & Swing in Funny Girl (UK Tour); Ensemble in Dick Whittington (London Palladium); Ensemble & Cover Sandy in Grease (Leicester Curve) and Ensemble in Guys and Dolls (UK Tour). On-screen she has appeared in Beauty and the Beast and CATS. 

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 was at home when I found out, I was on social media and one by one all my industry friends started to post about how they had been told to go home after warm-up. I was heartbroken to see a picture of the main strip of west end productions all dark. I think the most heartbreaking thing is really the unknown, being told that everything including theatres are going to be closed for the ‘unforeseeable future’ creates a fear that nothing will ever reopen again.

Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing?

I, unfortunately, haven’t discovered any talents yet, although I did learn how to make garlic croutons and an espresso martini, so every cloud! I have been doing a lot of pre-recorded streamed concerts, due to them being cancelled from the outbreak its been amazing to still be apart of the concerts in the only way possible at the minute. Wonderfully the industry has really proved how indestructible we all are, with all the tap, ballet, jazz etc classes going on every day I've been absolutely loving doing these classes in my garden. I have even been doing little fitness and stretch classes with my two best mates as one of them wanted to be able to touch her toes and a week later she did it! Sounds like the silliest thing but the build-up and improvement to her touching her toes was amazing and we all celebrated and had a gin over facetime! Luckily my husband had already turned our garage into a gym/studio, so I have been in there a lot whenever I haven’t been sunbathing! Also like any singer I've been using the time to really annoy my neighbours by belting out any tune I can find!

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? 

I'm sure everyone has been finding it very difficult, and its something that has really sparked an anger in me. Seeing so much negativity when social media platforms are there for positive spins on peoples days, seeing funny videos, doing silly challenges. It's all there to pass the time and try and make light of this isolation. Of course people are going to be angry, but I think its important to take a deep breath, rant to yourself and find some funny cat videos to look at instead of pouring your anger on a Facebook status.

My friends and I have been (virtually) meditating and doing yoga together, it's so lovely to feel a little bit of normality by having their voices in the room and be doing something so productive and mentally calming at the same time!

Have you discovered anything that you’d like to recommend to our viewers?

We have been given an amazing opportunity where they are streaming a different musical or play every Friday on youtube so I say get a gin, get some popcorn, dress up and go to the theatre in your lounge! 

I've told all of my non-dancer friends to get onto the live Instagram classes, its that opportunity to try out a style of dance you’ve always wanted to try, without feeling nervous about people watching you can do it all in the comfort of your own home! I've also logged into a few live stream sing-alongs, I did a Disney one the other day on Facebook and it was so much fun!

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?! 

What me, my friends and family have been doing (like the rest of the world) is facetime quizzes! It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago so we hosted a quiz and a load of drinking games, honestly, I never thought I could get that drunk on facetime. (I must say for legal reasons I am not advertising alcohol consumption).

Also! My friend hosted a virtual talent competition, which at the time thinking of something to do which wasn’t attempted to belt out defying gravity was difficult, but I ended up doing the classic cup song!

And finally, looking to the future, what are you most looking forward to when all of this is over? 

Honestly, going for dinner. I am craving restaurants so much! No cooking, no cleaning, cocktails served whenever I ask (and pay). But also I'm looking forward to the buzz of seeing all my friends and family once we are set free. We have already said we will be hosting a post-covid-19 BBQ party! Lastly, I'm looking forward to getting into my next musical contract. I pray every day that this will be over in time of that new contract starting, its something I have been looking forward to for ages and will be heartbroken if it is cancelled!

With all of that in mind, I must say we are going to get through this! There will always be a light at the end of the tunnel, its difficult now and people are struggling with loved ones, mental health issues and financial issues. But the country is doing themselves proud by staying home and sticking together! The beautiful bright lights of the west end and the world will be shining again soon! 

We'd like to thank Abigayle and all the other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature.

For more information please visit GOV.UK and NHS.co.uk

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.
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