Friday, 10 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Lauren Samuels


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!

Lauren Samuels was most recently seen in Cinderella at the Lyric Hammersmith as Popsy. She will also be live streaming a concert with the 'Leave a Light on' Series on Monday 13th April at 6.30. Her other credits include Sandy in Grease (Piccadilly Theatre); Cathy in The Last Five Years (Tabard); Scaramouche in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre & World Tour); the title role in Vampirette (Manchester Opera House); Ellie in Water Babies (Leicester Curve); Jenny in Love Story (Bolton Octagon); Jules in Bend it Like Beckham the Musical (Phoenix Theatre); Polly in The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre); Mary in Vanities (Trafalgar Studios); La Ronde (Bunker Theatre); Romantics Anonymous (the Globe's Sam Wanamaker Theatre); Rory in A Hundred Words For Snow (Arcola); Jenny in The Big Corner (Octagon Theatre) and Katherine in Henry V (Barn 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 was at home. I have quite a few friends over in America and so when the closure of Broadway happened I feared we would soon follow suit but of course, there was always a small part of me that had hope that we wouldn’t. I kept thinking surely they can’t close all theatre, surely not! It was a very sad day for everyone in the arts.

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

Every night before bed I make a list with specific times of what I’d like to achieve the next day. This helps me stay on track and remain focused. Every day I’ll do some sort of workout in my living room, I think it’s important to remain active and there are so many amazing free classes you can do and lots of people offering live insta workouts. I’m actually taking part in a live insta workout this Friday with Lockdown Live London! Myself and Sophie Evans will be sweating on screen for you all to follow! No mocking please...! I think it’s great we’re all engaging with each other over the socials. I am also taking part in the Leave A Light On live stream concerts in association with Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Cafe. On April 13th at 6.30pm, I will be live from my living room singing you all some musical theatre and generally just having a good time for your viewing pleasure! I’m so happy that even though theatres are closed we are still able to offer our talents out there for people to remain positive and happy and entertained. On top of that, I’ve become rather obsessed with TikTok! The comedy videos keep me amused and I’m loving making them with my dog Paul.

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 actually found there to be so much positivity on social media during this time! Ordinarily yes, social media gave have huge negative impacts, but I feel like people have really come together recently to say hey look, we’re all in this together, let’s make it fun and interesting and positive. The easiest way for me personally to keep a positive mental attitude is to create a routine as I said above, and just try to have fun with the time I have. Be creative, try something new, set up quiz nights on zoom, listen to new podcasts, find a new book, do a puzzle; all of these things bring me joy. That and of course my dog who I honestly don’t know what I’d do without!

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

It’s so important that people realise how much the arts needs their support. Particularly in a time like this when everyone is turning to the arts to entertain them in their lockdown boredom! Perhaps you had tickets to a show that has had to be cancelled? Rather than asking for a refund why not allow your ticket price to go back into the venue to help with the huge amount of lost earnings right now? Support all of the small things happening, such as the Leave A Light On series. Even if it’s just getting on social media and writing something positive about the arts it all helps.

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

Series wise I am currently watching Ozark on Netflix which I’m loving. I have also gotten very into the podcast Crime Junkie while I walk my dog every day. And also of course watching the many live theatre shows being broadcast, and supporting my friends live concerts through Leave A Light On.

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

It can be very lonely when you live alone! My family and friends have all been amazing at keeping in touch. I think I speak to more friends and family now than I did before!! Every Thursday evening my family have a Zoom quiz night and recently myself and all the Dorothy’s from Over The Rainbow have started a Zoom quiz night! I’m the quizmaster for this weeks so am currently planning the questions.

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

The little things like going to the pub with my friends, or having lunch. Getting back on stage to hear that applause. And of course GOING TO SEE A SHOW! I cannot WAIT for the amount of people who will be desperate to see things once theatres reopen and I’ll be there with bells and whistles on supporting everyone

We'd like to thank Lauren 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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