Thursday, 23 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Rebecca Mendoza

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Rebecca Mendoza was most recently seen playing Tracy in the UK tour of Club Tropicana. Before that, she played the leading role of Tracy Turnblad in the UK touring production of Hairspray. 

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 don’t remember where I was, but I remember being devastated for all of my friends currently working in shows, whether that be performers, stage management, technical team or wigs and wardrobe. I remember the buzz of everyone being concerned that some shows would close forever and there was a state of panic around on social media. However in the few days to come after the news it was so incredible to see the encouragement and supportiveness the industry had for each other. I always look on the positive side of life. So initially I was upset but hopeful for an all-mighty return when the theatre doors open to the public again.

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

To be completely honest, I haven’t really done anything massively productive. And that’s OK. Everyone posting workouts and learning new skills and being mega positive about bettering themselves, for the majority of the people in our industry, it makes us feel worse, this is from speaking to friends and my own feelings. I’m not currently working in a show so I was doing like 50/60 hour weeks between a few jobs to just keep myself afloat and it’s actually been really nice to let my body rest and stop and recover. I’ve had days where I have got up and wanted to be more active and I’ve done it on my terms, I’ve had days where I’ve had a sing to myself but haven’t had the need to post to social media. I’ve been doing things that I’ve lacked in over the last six months, I live with my sister and friend and due to our busy schedules hardly see each other so we have spent some quality time together baking, drawing, having a bbq on the small balcony outside our front door. I’ve read books, educated myself. I have also been joining a fabulous group my friend Hannah Lucia made called Soup For The Soul, in which a group of us get together and talk about our stresses and woes in this difficult time and in life and that’s really helped me remain in a positive mindset for when we are finally given our freedom again. 

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 take social media with a pinch of salt. You get what you give to social media. I personally always try and stay as positive as I can be on social media as well as honest. 

Some days people are upset and angry at what is happening and now because we don’t have social interactions people take to social media to make their outbursts. When scanning past them rather than feeling anger for their negativity I feel maybe it’s a cry for a bit of support or loneliness so I try not to entertain some really negative comments. 

It’s ok to be negative some days you don’t have to be positive 24/7 it’s about not letting the negative state take over your life, so when going on social media if you see something negative why don’t you post something positive. Spread happiness on our cyber board!

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

There are lots of online streaming concerts that you can watch in which there is a small fee that supports businesses being able to stay open, there are free online musicals and the most important one: When theatres open again buy your tickets. Support your local theatres! That doesn’t mean everyone should take an expensive trip to London, find a local theatre, there are going to be touring shows going back out, get your tickets, scream louder than you ever did before in the bows, post how great the shows were on social media and encourage people to do the same! 

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

I have seen the Leave a Light on Concerts, they've have been great for anyone who lives for live entertainment. Follow your favourite theatre starts on social media lots of people are going live or have joined cameo!

I have been addicted to Disney plus, it’s just one way of making my heart feel a little warmer. I have been doing quizzes every Thursday night with my work friends so you could get a group of friends together and run a musical theatre quiz?

I have been reading a lot at the moment and friends have been posting lots of book suggestions, I’m currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. I also was incredibly moved by Unorthodox on Netflix, I would highly recommend to watch it! The acting is incredible. 

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

So I’m really lucky I live in a flat in East London with my little sister and a good friend so we have been keeping ourselves very entertained. We got some chalk and drew over the floor leading up to our flat in the brightest colours with a brick lane of pink blue and yellow, we did this as we don’t have a garden so wanted to make it feel special. My sister and I FaceTime our parents as often as we can to check in that they are coping ok! I have done a lot of quizzes, I actually had one with the Club Tropicana cast at the weekend as a form of reunion! Zoom is a great app for getting a large group of people together in like one giant face time! Monopoly is always a classic game and takes up quite a lot of the day! We have also been doing crazy things to our hair, we chopstick curled my sister's hair the other week and me and my friend curled ours and we all put on red lipstick and nice clothes set up the camera on the tripod made margaritas and took some cute pictures as we don’t have many of the three of us! This is such a fun time to get creative with your friends and family and find your own kind of fun! 

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

I’m not going to lie, I cannot wait to pay for an overpriced cocktail in an Instagram worthy bar in Soho with all of my closest friends! Then with what I can afford to try and watch some theatre, get back to work because I actually really miss working! I will never take a hug for granted ever again. 

We'd like to thank Rebecca 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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