Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Grace Mouat


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!

*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation. Please keep that in mind when reading*

Grace Mouat is currently the alternate Juliet in the West End premiere of & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre. She is probably best known for being the original super swing in the UK tour, Edinburgh and West End production of SIX the musical. Her other credits include The Oliviers in Concert (Royal Festival Hall); ensemble in Spring Awakening (Curve, Leicester); ensemble in Beauty and the Beast (Camberley Theatre) and Susan in Soul Music (Rose Theatre, Kingston).

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 and had been since the previous Thursday when I became very ill (with what I still don't know). I was half expecting it to be completely honest but was still gutted. However, I knew it was the safest thing to do to save lives! I was just heartbroken I wasn't there to say 'See you soon' to my show family!

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

I have been doing a few live streams which has been SO much fun and really encouraged me to expand my rep of songs and learn some new songs! It has been so special performing to people online especially on the one with Ethereal Theatre where they teamed up with the wonderful charity, Age UK, and live-streamed it to lots of nursing homes around the country!

I have also started up my own YouTube Channel! Still can't believe it when I say that! It has been something I have wanted to do for such a long time but was umming and ah-ing. I figured now was the best time to just bite the bullet and do it and it has had such a wonderful reaction so far! I am trying to keep my videos as anti-corona as possible so doing lots of funny and silly challenges to give the viewers so light-hearted escapism and relief from the current climate! 

I am also trying to take part in lots of online classes and fitness workouts but it can be very overwhelming (in a wonderful way) because there are SO many! Everyone is so willing to share it makes me very emotional! So at the moment, I am kind of just doing friend's classes (Rhian Duncan's is ACE) or going off recommendations! 

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 always been a strong believer in making my social media a place of positivity and control. I decided to take control of my social media one day when I found myself scrolling through my timeline of posts that were making me feel insecure, negative or down about myself. I unfollowed them all and now follow lots of positivity accounts to give some colour and REAL-ness to my timeline! 

I have also been meditating and journaling. At this time, a lot of people are just sitting with their thoughts. I find it useful to get it out on some paper or engage with my thoughts in a non-judgemental way through meditation. Sasha from @heelsandfeelsuk has been running a wonderful meditation at 10am every morning on Instagram. There is something so special about meditating live with people from all over the world!

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

The wonderful charity Acting For Others are wonderful! Also, buying ticket's for peoples performances and classes etc. to support actors who have recently lost their jobs. If you were planning on visiting the theatre and it got cancelled, consider donating your ticket money to the theatre. 

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

I recently shared a few books that I have read so far on Instagram and plan on continuing- Happy by Fearne Cotton, Queenie by Candice C Williams, Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe. 

Prison Break is CRAZY good! Very intense but I am balancing it out with some Disney+ (so far I have watched Tangled, Aladdin and all of the Toy Story's!)

YOUTUBE is full of weird and wonderful videos! I am going to start learning how to Thrift Flip my clothes with a sewing machine via youtube soon! I am really looking forward to picking up a new skill! Lambert Jacksons productions are putting on some wonderful live streams with various performers! I am super excited to do mine on the 23rd of April!

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

ZOOM, facetime, WhatsApp! All the standard ones. My pals and I have been doing some quizzes on zoom and they have really got my brain going. It's nice to get really focused on something during the day!

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

Seeing my friends and family, hugging them, smiling and laughing with them! I am really hoping the world we be a better, more mindful and more grateful place when this is over. I also can't wait to be back on stage with my Juliet family and having fun. Making people smile for a living is the best job ever and I will never take it for granted again!

We'd like to thank Grace 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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