Friday, 3 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky


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! 

Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky is currently in the West End musical, Tina: The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre. Her other credits include Rizzo in the UK Tour of Grease, West End production of Bat Out of Hell (for which she won a nomination for Best Understudy in the 2018 West End Wilma Awards) and The Book of Mormon at The Prince Of Wales Theatre, London.

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 actually in tech rehearsals for Tina! We had been teching for around two weeks and were just about to do our first dress run. My initial reaction was shock. I just couldn’t believe it was happening. I always saw the West End like a machine, no matter what it would always run. Similarly to Broadway. I was also pretty upset as we were due to open the next day. It’s a day I’ll never forget.

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

At the moment with this time off I’ve been trying to be productive as possible, but am also secretly loving giving my body and mind a little time to rest. I’ve been on the go doing bits and pieces since last year so I’m definitely trying to revel in this time! I’m picking up my Spanish again, I’ve been learning on and off since I was really little and now I have the time I really want to focus on getting it good again.

I’m in awe of how many fitness classes and dance classes they’re out there though! Absolutely love it! I’ve been trying to chime into those here and there, but as for myself, I’m thinking of doing some live singing streams soon because who doesn’t love a little sing?!

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?

It’s a tricky one at the moment, isn’t it? I find social media currently to be two extremes. I’m either bowled over with the positivity of friends in the industry sharing their talents and how they spend their time which makes me so proud, or I see scary death numbers from the virus and I stay up all night with anxiety! I’m trying to limit myself on social media anyway so I’ve given myself set breaks of when I can’t use it during the day. I’m a bit of a yogi and I like to meditate and I find that always helps my mindset. I talk to my friends a lot on the phone and we pull each other through when we’re having bad days. It’s just about finding your own wave and figuring out how to ride it.

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

So many gorgeous actors and producers are offering to help continue the love of the arts by doing everything virtually at the moment! Check up on your favourite performers social media and see if they’re holding any live concerts. Take part in any dance/fitness live streams too!! Anything that induces creativity at the moment for those in the arts is highly appreciated!

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

There feels like there is so much going on at the moment it’s crazy powerful!! Personally, I’d recommend watching the live streams from performers houses! Danielle Steers did a brilliant one and there are many more performers due to have a little sing from their living rooms!

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 didn’t even know what social distancing meant before all this happened. It’s such an alien concept to me! I check in with my friends every day and ask them how they're feeling and what their plan for the day is. We all chat on either zoom or house party towards the end of the week with a glass of wine. I have been holding off getting addicted to games because I am terrible, once I’m in I’m in and it’s all I’ll do! A few friends have got back on ‘The Sims’ so I might try that out again. We’ll see.

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

Oh god, I’m dying for a hug. That sounds ridiculous but just human physical connection and interaction! I thrive off that. I can’t wait to hug people. I’m just looking forward to getting the industry back up and running, and the feeling of knowing we’ll have overcome this obstacle together as a team (because that’s what it feels like at the moment and it’s wonderful) will really be great. This has been an eye-opening experience for us all! Instead of ‘why is this happening to us?’ I try and flip it and say ‘what is this teaching us?’ It’s already taught us a lot. I can’t wait for shows to be up and running again, those first nights back open with a full audience will be electric! It’s those feelings I hold onto.

We'd like to thank Rhianne-Louise 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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