Sunday, 5 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Nicole-Lily Baisden

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Nicole-Lily Baisden is currently in the UK & International tour of The Book of Mormon, playing the role of Nabulungi, this is her professional stage debut since leaving Arts Educational. 

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’m currently touring with the Book of Mormon so we were in Birmingham at the time. I had taken a few days off the show, planning on going back the Tuesday. I got a call from my cast mate saying they got to warm up and were told that evenings performance and all other performances were cancelled until further notice! I was definitely in shock, and as I saw tweets and announcements that shows all over the UK were closing I really couldn’t believe it. Theatre has always been such a huge part of my life so to see it all come to a halt so quickly broke my heart! I spent most of the night thinking about friends of mine that had exciting things coming up or had just started something new. It was bizarre! 

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

If I’m honest I’ve probably done more exercise in the past 3 weeks than I have in a while because there are so many classes on offer. My garden has turned into my own studio! I’ve spent a lot of time reading and as I’ve moved back home it’s given me time to properly catch up with my mum and dad after being away for nearly a year. Also, the Livestream concerts have been giving me my stagey fix over the past few weeks.

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? 

The main thing that I’ve been trying to do so far is differentiating between real facts and fake news. It’s so easy to get caught up in gossip and conspiracies and think that everything is spiralling out of control. Taking time away from my phone to read a book or take a class has helped me find the positives in this situation. And discovering TikTok! It’s made me laugh so much when I’ve been feeling down.  

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

Its been really heartwarming to see the amount of theatre professionals reaching out to people in the industry. Whether it’s offering to watch your self tapes, give you audition advice or just for a chat it makes you feel as if the industry is still thriving. So definitely get involved with the classes on offer (many give you the option to donate if you’re in a position to) or watch a live stream concert to support not only the teachers/performers but to keep the industry alive. 

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

The ‘Leave the light on’ concerts have been brilliant! They give you the feeling of being at the theatre watching such talented performers from the comfort of your house with all the snacks you could want! 

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

The Houseparty app has been a great way to keep in touch with all of my friends at once and my year at ArtsEd are actually having an online quiz night tonight! Also, me and my mum have started an 1000 piece puzzle which I thought would take up a couple of days... it’s been nearly two weeks! 

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

Top of my list has to be any shopping centre anywhere! But, I’d love to be in the audience of any show when the theatres reopen, I just know the atmosphere will be electric. Also, hopefully the industry to get back to where it was so myself and everyone I know can continue doing what makes us happy everyday. 

We'd like to thank Nicole-Lily 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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