Tuesday, 14 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Adam Dawson



These recent times have been some of the hardest challenges we've faced and as a community, its hit us pretty hard. However during these difficult times, here at Pocket Size Theatre, we wanted to spread a little positivity and share some people's 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!

Adam Dawson most recently appeared in The Pirate Queen at the London Coliseum. His other credits include Peter in The Railway Children (The Brehousw Theatre); Jackson in Works of Art (Tristan Bates Theatre); Wickersham & Mr. Mayor in Seussical (Southwark Playhouse); Hanschen in Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre); Jude, Onstage Swing & Cover Claude in Hair (The Vaults) & Dick Whittington (Cambridge Arts). 

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 work when I found out. I work for Waitrose between jobs and after being there for a couple of weeks post The Pirate Queen, and witnessing the panic buying starting to happen, I knew it was only a matter of time. I felt upset for my friends on jobs or recently been cast and due to start. It’s heartbreaking when you have put so much effort into securing a role but, at the same time, seeing first hand what was going on, I knew it was the right decision. For their safety and for the safety of the public. 

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

I have begun writing a musical. Well, that's a lie. I have been writing a Musical and have loads of ideas but, not enough time to invest in them and more importantly, spend hours putting my ideas into Sibelius! So I have finally got round to doing that. I have also written my personal statement for an MA I’m looking at starting and, the biggest dream of all; I HAVE COMPLETED MY 2019-2020 TAX RETURN! I haven’t streamed anything as of yet because I’m not sure anyone wants to listen to my voice after not singing for three weeks but, I may get round to doing that.

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 have to admit, being at work is really difficult at times. You are in a room surrounded by panicked people all day and that anxiety certainly passes onto you, no matter how hard you try to shake it. I can’t avoid that, I have to work. But my phone time, I can control and to combat that I try to avoid social media, I allow myself to look at the news once a day now we are in a more steady state of ‘lockdown.’ I like to meditate and do Yoga and find that really helps. But, equally social media is a place to connect with friends and see the brilliant things other people are doing to keep sane and proactive. So I wouldn’t cut it out completely. I may find an idea that would really help me during these more isolated times. 

With the Arts temporarily shut down, how would you advise people to continue to support the Arts industries? 

Keep an eye on people and what they are doing. Concerts are popping up all over the place virtually. A comedian I LOVE (Kiri Pritchard - McLean) has started to host a comedy night every Saturday called ‘The COVID Arms,’ you donate a minimum of £2 but, up to whatever you want and that pays the comedians a small fee with the rest going to the Trussell Trust. They have raised 12k each week so far. So raising money for charity but, also giving those creatives a small lifeline if they need it. Likewise, they can choose to donate their fee. I really love the fact that if people can afford it, to ‘donate’ their ticket for a production that they may not get to see. That ticket could really help save small theatres like The Hope Mill and means the world to the owners. Keeping positive is the main thing. Facilitating each other. 

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

I’m always 10 years behind TV series etc. I don’t ever have time to watch them so I am the worst person to ask this question to. But I highly recommend ‘All Killa no Filla Podcast.’ I find podcasts a really good way to be engaged, learn, have a laugh but, also lie on your bed to listen to, opposed to melting your eyes in front of a screen all day. Saying that… DisneyPlus is a game-changer. 

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 parents have discovered FaceTime which is now utilised every day. My friends and I set up group chats and calls to all connect. I think equally it’s important not to overburden this. It’s okay to say, "I’m just gonna have some downtime" if that’s what you need that day. You still need time to yourself and it can get quite overwhelming when you have 10 planned in calls in one day to various different people. Treat yourself with respect and listen to what you need. I do love a quiz and we did one for my friend Ben’s birthday. All the questions were based on Musical Theatre and I was appalling so maybe I should be swotting up in my free time. 

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

I’m looking forward to replanning my NYC trip with my best friend after it got cancelled. To get started with my wonderful new agent properly (who I moved to days before this all blew up) and see my friends in the flesh. I have found some really positive motivation during this forced downtime and have realised I don’t respect myself with my time management. It’s okay to take time for yourself and it’s okay to take a step back and make time for yourself. Work on those projects that will truly make you happy and fulfil you opposed to just joining the rat race again. My Musical is going to happen and I can see that now but, it won’t happen if I don’t make the time for it. 

We'd like to thank Adam 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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