Saturday, 4 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Lucy Andic


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!

Lucy Andic was most recently seen on the West End stage in the cast of 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the ensemble and covering Anytime Annie. Other credits include Jasmin in Aladdin (Alton Towers Resort Theatre) and Sleeping Beauty at the Greenwich 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 teaching at one of my dance schools in London and saw the news notification pop up on my phone between lessons with the headline. My stomach flipped. I knew so many friends & colleagues who would be immediately out of work but couldn’t look properly at the news articles until I finished teaching later in the evening. For all the shows to shut together under the SOLT act I knew we were in for a rough ride as an industry and knew it was just a matter of time until all my dance schools closed as well and I would be in exactly the same position as all my friends who were currently in West End and Touring show. I felt like the power was completely out of my hands and I would have to accept whatever was going to happen. I felt pretty helpless but also felt an immediate tightening & solidarity within the musical theatre and entertainment community where everyone was coming together, supporting and comforting each other.

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

I started streaming some live HIIT workout classes on Weds 18th March on my Facebook page for family and friends to join in with. Although I am surrounded by my family (24/7 and boy don’t we all know it!), I felt so alone and knew working out or doing exercise in general boosts my positive mindset 1000% by getting those endorphins running around my body. Although I’m not a qualified fitness instructor by any means, I thought by going “live” with something I do most mornings anyway on my own, I could get a sense of team and community going at the same time. I know that by live-streaming my workouts I personally have a much more structured & productive session, work harder in the exercises than I would have done on my own, feel like I’m adding something positive to people’s days and just generally feel like my day has been more productive by exercising! I’m also teaching a few online tap classes through Instagram Live for a course I teach on called CBS Dance which is great and then quite a few of my dance schools have also started online classes on Zoom so I’m managing to maintain a chunk of my teaching through that too.

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 been trying to avoid watching the actual news as much as possible. I have of course been reading articles, watching broadcasts when I need to, but doing too much of this is in short, depressing. Especially this last week where there has been so much uncertainty on what us little self-employed folk will be able to do and receive help with. But I have to say trying to maintain a sense of routine has really helped. Getting up at a half-decent time most days (absolutely let yourself lay in while you can, what a treat!), doing something productive during the day whether that’s cleaning the house, applying for Universal Credit, give the dog a walk, make dinner for the family, working out, teaching online classes or just ticking a few things off your to-do list that have been there for the last 6 months. It all really helps create a positive mindset. I have also been trying to do something which makes me switch off once a day too, for me that’s reading or doing a class and boy do we have the best choice of online dance classes to choose from at the moment! Just something to give my mind a break from all the craziness running through it at the moment. Connecting with friends and family is really lovely as well. We all seem to have so much more time than usual to send that WhatsApp or give that friend the call you’ve been meaning to since Xmas. It’s so lovely to socialise with your nearest and dearest at the minute because quite frankly, we all really need each other. 

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

Use. Social. Media. We are all literally on it every second of the day at the minute. We have such a brilliant platform at the end of our fingertips and what an incredible opportunity to boost teachers, companies and courses online presence. If you have friends running classes, workshops or concerts, post about them! Even if you’re not going to do or watch it. It will literally take 10 seconds out of your day and will mean the world to them whilst also actually helping them to spread their message and talents out into the world. And if you do take part in someone’s online class, post about it! Even if it wasn’t the most incredible thing you’ve ever done, give them a little thank you for taking the time to put it on, prepare the class, spicing up your day; it will mean so much. If people are asking for donations too, please consider doing it, everyone is struggling and if people are putting on online classes, 9/10 times it means they would usually be teaching and can’t currently. Even if it’s £1, you will be supporting them and will mean they are more likely to keep putting on the classes for us all. 

I know a lot of theatres/ticket websites are also offering refunds on tickets that have been purchased for cancelled shows. Obviously, a lot of people who go to shows have a direct interest in the industry and are performers or entertainers themselves so are being hit by the lack of income too. But if you can spare the refund and donate the money from your tickets to the theatre, show or company please do. It will hopefully support the more vulnerable companies and theatres so that we can make those shows happen again once all of this is over.

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

Lisa Jewell books are my fav at the minute. Slowly working my way through them all, highly recommend. If you haven’t already read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, please do. It is life-changing!

The Instagram page “Magnetic Movement” (@magneticmovement_1) run by Alex Blake and Lindsay Atherton, is compiling weekly timetables of online dance/ pilates /yoga /barre /conditioning classes so you can see which classes are which days/times and where to find them. It’s amazing! BroadwayHD are doing a 7-day free subscription, so you can stream Broadway/West End shows right into your living rooms! The stagey dream!

And other stagey films I would recommend to watch if you haven’t already are Judy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns. The 8 part BBC series Fosse / Verdon is magical. It’s still available to stream on BBC iPlayer too. Dancers, it’s a must-watch! And finally, Fleabag. Short comedy series, just watch! (BBC iPlayer too!)

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 had my first House Party app girl’s night on Saturday with my girl’s from home, which was brilliant! We had a pub quiz and everything! It also let you play games on the app itself which was cool, and the ones we played were versions of Pictionary, Cards Against Humanity with different names, which I forget. 

Facetime has been a dream too for catch-ups with friends and family! Living back at home in Northamptonshire with my family has been lovely (testing, but lovely) and we’ve tried most nights to get a game out or play cards in the evenings. So far we’ve tackled Trivial Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity, The Chase card game, Scrabble and a few rounds of Rummy/Books and Runs (whichever you call it). Jenga, Monopoly, Battleships, Cluedo are in the running for the next games night. 

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

I cannot wait to get back to teaching in a studio with real people in front of me and not just over a computer screen. I can’t wait to get back auditioning, back at the gym, back to my flat in London living with my best friend, back to those little cafes you’d just pop in for a coffee, back to watching live shows in theatres, back having a gin in Archer Street at the weekends with my girls. Basically, back to normality and most of all giving all my friends, family and loved ones the biggest hug ever.

We'd like to thank Lucy 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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