Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Joelle Dyson


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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* 

Joelle Dyson was most recently seen in the London production of TINA: The Musical. Her other credits include Usherette/1st Cover Ulla in The Producers (Royal Exchange Theatre); Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre); Funny Girl(Savoy Theatre & Menier Chocolate Factory); Tiger Lily in Peter Pan (Plymouth Theatre Royal); TOMMY (Blackpool Winter Gardens); Ikette in Tina - The Rock Legend (European Tour); Ultimate Broadway (Shanghai Culture Square Theatre); Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens (Shaw Theatre).

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 had just finished a years run of TINA at The Aldwych Theatre on the Saturday (14th) so I was actually at home. We had all feared it was on the cards soon, especially after the news from Broadway so I wasn’t actually surprised. Getting a minute by minute breakdown of what was happening from friends still in shows and at their theatres was very surreal. My initial worry was about the next job I had lined up and whether or not it would still be going ahead. I figured to be between contracts was dangerous territory as I wouldn’t fall under the protection of being “current cast” in regards to finances or job security. 

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

My first few weeks were filled with self-tapes as all auditions have now moved online. It’s really great that technology has allowed us to stay connected both professionally and socially over the lockdown. I also made sure I had some lazy days at the beginning as I wanted to give my body a break after such a physically demanding year. Since then, taking part in all the live fitness classes people are offering has been amazing and I’m looking to add Tap and Pilates this week to mix it up! I’ve also made use of the free courses that Open University are offering. Forensic Science, anyone?

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? 

Most of the people I follow are friends or people whose views I respect so, on the whole, it isn’t too bad. I do still see my fair share of fake news and scaremongering though. My boyfriend is very good at telling me to put my phone down and have a break if anything is causing me to overthink.

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

Where you can, I would try to encourage exchanges on tickets you have already bought instead of refunds. I am aware that many people have lost a lot of income through so this won’t always be a possibility. I also think that enjoying all the free streaming of shows and live concerts is a great way to stay engaged with all the talent around. 

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

I am currently watching Ozark on Netflix which is amazing - the acting is incredible - I’m hooked! I’m also VERY excited for Season 3 of Killing Eve to arrive. I’ve found that now is also a good chance to dust off your bookshelf - I’ve started picking up some plays I haven’t touched in years and I’m loving them.

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’m ashamed to say I haven’t hosted any quizzes (yet!) but I have taken part in them. I feel it’s only fair to mention that to date I’ve always finished in the top 3 too! *pats self on the back* What’s positive is that we are all now forced to make more of an effort, and as everyone is at home we have the free time to connect. 

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

I can’t wait to get back into rehearsals for something. I want a script or score on my lap and I want the hairs on my arms to stand up during a first read-through. Bring. It. On! 

We'd like to thank Joelle 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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