Monday, 27 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Andrew Carthy



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!

Andrew Carthy was most recently cast in the new touring production of Bat Out of Hell as Hollander. His other credits include George in The Wedding Singer (Troubador Wembley Park); Franz and understudy Drew in Rock of Ages (UK Tour); Guys and Dolls (Kilworth House); Cinderella (Hackney Empire); The Wedding Singer (UK Tour); Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Peter Pan (Theatre Royal, Norwich); Loserville (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Garrick Theatre); Wicked (Metronom Theatre, Germany); Aladdin (Mayflower Theatre, Southampton) and Rock Around The Clock (UK Tour).

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 in rehearsals for Bat Out Of Hell and someone had seen on Twitter that the governor of New Jersey had closed down all entertainment venues in the state and we were due to be arriving there the following week. We were supposed to be on our dinner break before starting back again at 7pm for the evening call, but instead, we had a company meeting which was swiftly followed by a mass gathering at the pub! Oh and all this happened on Friday the 13th... can’t make it up can you?!

My initial reaction was one of shock actually. We had speculated that something would happen at some point but I guess I didn’t really think the news of a cancellation would come before we’ve even finished rehearsals. Although I must admit I’m thrilled we hadn’t already made it to America (quarantined in a hotel room waiting to be repatriated? No ma’am).

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

For the first couple of weeks, I wasn’t being productive at all. I had an injury I’d been dancing through so it was quite a welcome break to be able to finally rest. So I spent those days bingeing Netflix like a crazy person and eating my body weight in dairy milk and kettle chips. Schitt's Creek, The Stranger, The Money Heist (this was actually borderline stressful!), Tiger King and all that stuff. Now I’m active again I’ve been doing workouts in the garden most days courtesy of my mate Bobby (check him out on insta for a fresh workout everyday @bobalus) and I’ve been doing the odd yoga class on zoom. I’ve also taken up running which normally I’m not a huge fan of but at the moment I’m loving it!

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?

The lack of freedom has been quite difficult to deal with and when you’re stuck at home bored it’s easy to just spend hours on social media. The negativity I’ve seen, especially on twitter, is just not good for anyone. I’ve had to utilise the block/unfollow buttons and try to not pay too much attention. However, my positive mental attitude comes from understanding that it’s ok to not be ok. We all have good and bad days and we all deal with it differently. If I’m not feeling great my go-to thing at the moment is to go for a run. But do whatever makes you happy!

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

There are so many fantastic productions being streamed online you can watch now for free. Some are asking for a small fee which will go to charity. If finances allow, please donate what you can. If you have tickets to a local venue see if you can exchange your ticket for another performance instead of getting a refund. I’ve seen a few small local venues have had to permanently close because they won’t recover from the financial loss.

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

Disney plus. Need I say more? 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close is just one of my favourite films of all time.

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

I actually came to stay with my sister and her family for a few days and while I was here the lockdown hit... so I’ve just ended up staying here and taking full advantage of her garden and the fresh country air. I’ve been here over 3 weeks now! The nieces and nephews are keeping me busy and the weather has been glorious. The 7am screams of sibling rivalry are starting to wear thin though. The Zoom and Houseparty apps have been in full swing too. Getting all the family on for a quiz has been a brilliant laugh but utter carnage at the same time. I’ve never done so many quizzes in all my life and for someone who thought their general knowledge was relatively ok, I’ve been doing pretty badly! 

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

Getting back to normal. To not have to worry about leaving the house or sitting on a park bench. And obviously seeing all my friends and family again properly. I’m also looking forward to getting back to work and to finish off what we started all those weeks ago in the rehearsal room, I hope I remember it!

We'd like to thank Andrew 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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