Tuesday, 7 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Danielle Fiamanya


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!

Danielle Fiamanya recently played Nettie in the Leicester Curve production of The Colour Purple fresh from graduating from the Guildford School of Acting, a role which earned her the 2019 Stage Debut Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She is currently in & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre featuring in the ensemble and covering the role f Juliet. She also appeared in Prom Queen at the Other Palace. 

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 actually in the theatre with the full cast. I had already finished my show makeup and we had done the first half of our warm-up! Then people from every department started showing up on the stage. That's when I looked around and thought, it's happening. Initially, I felt like I expected it coming however over time I think that's when the shock kicked in of not getting to do what I love every day!

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

During this time I think I've actually shocked myself in how many things I can get stuck into! I will say, however, if you're not doing anything at this time, I believe that's completely okay, however, your mind and body deals with this time is your personal journey and there are no rules for this! Personally, at first it was extremely hard, I had no motivation, I had become a little unwell and I really just wanted to lie in bed! But after I got a little more positive and back to health, my body was craving fitness! For me being active a little bit every day is very important for my health and well being. I will do anything from a Joe wicks HIIT to some incredible dance classes I have done on Instagram live. Also I'm starting to get into reading again, I didn't have much time for it when I was back in the show but I'm enjoying it! I’ve also started a wee Instagram account with my best friend sharing some of our favourite health and well-being hacks and content, that keeps us super creative!

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? 

Fortunately, I've not come across too many negative things. I love my industry and most people on my feed are really lifting each other's spirits. Seeing everyone laugh through this time is really special. I will, however, say I struggle to watch the news and tend to avoid the daily updates if necessary, just for my own sanity as it can get very overwhelming!

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

I know there are a few charities being set up that you can donate too to support sectors of our industry! I think if money is an uncertainty for people, reaching out to theatre friends or even people you've never even spoken to goes a long way! Supporting each other and letting each other know they are not alone will, I think, keep us solid and ready to make the biggest come back when this is all over. I hope when we get to that point we can say, we did it together, we all helped each other to get here despite the bad times.

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

One word... DISNEY+! In all seriousness, definitely disney+ and I also highly recommend any podcasts you can get your hands on. I recently listened to ‘The Happy Place’ hosted by Fearn Cotton. Also please hit up my friend Rhian Duncan on Instagram, her dance classes on Instagram are amazing and make you sweat!

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've done a couple of pub quizzes which are so much fun and really take your mind off things! A wee facetimes goes a long way and just talking to your friends over any form of media can change your mood. Cooking with my family too is heaps of fun! I love food!

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

I am most looking forward to sharing the theatre with audiences and cast members again. There is no feeling like being in that room and making people smile, laugh, cry and dance with you. I just can't wait to feel that energy again, pure joy just thinking about. We will make it there soon.

We'd like to thank Danielle 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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