Saturday, 11 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Kieran Brown

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Kieran Brown last appeared in the UK and International tour of Titanic the Musical. His other credits include understudy Phantom in The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre); Elphaba’s Father and understudy Dillamond and Wizard in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); understudy Raoul in Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre); Feuilly in Les Misérables (Palace Theatre & O2 Arena); Doc in the European première of Pipe Dream (Union Theatre); Phantom in UK première of Maury Yeston’s Phantom (Rose & Crown Theatre); The Actor in The Woman In Black, Algernon Moncreiff in The Importance Of Being Earnest, Don’t Dress For Dinner, Beyond Therapy (International Theatre, Vienna) and the Three Phantoms (Macau & Singapore).

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 town and had been for an audition, then had a wander through Soho. Decided to grab myself a cheeky drink then saw the news. It was bizarre walking through Theatreland seeing all the fab front of house staff dealing with confused punters, having to explain and send them away. Hats off to them all. Was a very strange vibe - decided quite quickly it was probably best to head home. Instincts were telling me that a further lockdown was coming.

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

I’ve been taking photographs for a while, not of anyone thing or subject, just when I see something I like and can find a nice way of framing it, theatres, backstage, travel photographs, colours, textures etc. It’s developed from something of a hobby into quite a passion. People have been telling me for the past couple of years I should be selling them, but I’ve always just enjoyed doing it for me - I’m not interested in setting things up; I see it and snap it. That is my kind of “ethos”! When I had all of my work cancelled I was racking my brains, just like everyone else I guess, as to how I was going to pay my rent etc, and a dear friend Anthony Johns suggested (for about the third time!) I should look at selling some of my photographs. I investigated some options and found a site called Picfair, registered, started my store and so far it’s been going great! I’ve so many shots still to upload but there are currently more than 200 images available, and have had more than 12,000 visits to my page, as well as having several of my shots selected by Picfair from their millions of images to be starred and showcased, which is huge for an amateur like me! I really hope it keeps up the momentum and can help see me through until things start to return to normal. I’ve also decided to donate 10% from every picture sold to charity, supporting 2 hospices, one in South London and one in my home town in Scotland. The page is Take a look and see if there is anything you like! 

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’ve developed quite an ability to filter it out. I think it’s so important right now to try to remain as positive as possible, for our own sake as well as others. Tempers are fraught, nerves are shredded, patience is low, but we are ALL in the same boat and people deal with things in a different way. Just 2 months ago, there was a lot of talk of #bekind after the tragic loss of Caroline Flack. For so many, that’s been forgotten. We all have our moments and wobbles of course, but I think it’s important to take moment to breathe, ask yourself if that negative/accusatory post is necessary, who it’s really for and what is it for. If in doubt, don’t post it. Let's all try and keep each other afloat. Otherwise we all sink. Easier said than done, I know, believe me, but I know I am trying…! 

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

For the smaller theatres/companies, donating the cost of cancelled tickets is a great start. Also, supporting actors/musicians with their online concerts, classes etc is a great help. The #FundsForFreelancers initiative has had an AMAZING response so if you’re in a position to donate, they are helping so many people out. And of course, when theatres do reopen, GO! 

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

SO many amazing theatre productions being LiveStreamed. I can’t wait for Flowers For Mrs Harris from Chichester and some of the Leicester Curve productions. The NT screenings are also very exciting! And thank GOD for Netflix and BBC iPlayer - proof further, if needed, about how important the Beeb is and why we need to fight to keep it! 

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 only done a couple of quizzes, one with West End Wilma using Zoom - my first time - struggled with the background changer - was fun so will definitely be doing more! Other than that been Facetime with family up in Scotland mostly, and WhatsApp with my friends further afield. Thank goodness for this kind of technology, particularly for those isolating alone. 

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

A HUGE Sunday roast in the pub! And being able to enjoy a nice summer rose in the park and sunshine! 

We'd like to thank Kieran and all the other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature.

For more information please visit GOV.UK and

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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