Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Rodney Vubya

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Rodney Vubya credits include Street Scene (Opera North); Evita (Open Air Theatre); Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Aldwych Theatre); Cover General in The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre); Prince Richard in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Hoxton Hall); Branom/Marty A Clockwork Orange (Norway tour); Avis White in Oresteia III - Eumenides; Americana (Edinburgh Festival); Facehunters (Edinburgh Festival).

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

In terms of my productivity, I’ve tried to keep on top of my physical activity, incorporating sustainable yoga practices throughout the week and doing friends’ workouts that they’ve made available via social media platforms - it gets me set up for the day and puts me in a great headspace, even if I don’t necessarily have a lot planned for the rest of the day. My partner runs his own successful photography business, Samuel Black Photography, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to get me trained up to aid him with the retouching and administrative side of things. It’s been learning a completely new craft which, though daunting at first, has helped me feel useful and productive. Slowly but surely, we’re hoping for it to be a career that I can maintain alongside my acting work when this time eventually passes, and it enables us to keep it in the family persay and it feels me with great admiration for the work he has tirelessly put in for the last few years. I’ve also tried to make sure that I’m singing something every now and again to maintain my craft and playing around with a few things here and there that I’ve procrastinated in doing for a while.

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 scrolling on social media can be very difficult, especially when catching news of friends or friends of friends having loved ones in very vulnerable positions or sadly losing people altogether. But what I try to do is put my two cents in in a more positive outlet - I’ve been trawling through box sets and films that I’d been longing to watch and friends have enjoyed my dramatic, if not mundane, reviews that have just added some comic relief here and there. Also, there are plenty of positive/funny GIFs and memes circulating that have me in stitches which I share immediately. I’ve found people are becoming increasingly creative with their social output and I’ve found just sharing those make a world of difference to me as it reminds me that it isn’t all bad.

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

In terms of encouraging people to support the Arts, I hugely support friends showcasing their talents on the various online concerts/masterclasses that are circulating. Anyone brave and willing enough to share that with the world on such a public platform I commend as, within our careers, we often find ourselves under scrutiny/judgement by many but I feel people are being really proactive with promoting the message that ‘we will emerge from this and stronger than ever’. Just hearing friends smash it from the comfort of their homes feels me with hope because it just means the industry will thrive brilliantly with talent still being maintained and exercised.

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

In terms of my personal recommendations, I’m a BIG Netflix fan and love the series they churn out. Most recently, we finished Unorthodox which is a brilliant miniseries following a Hasidic Jewish woman’s self-emancipation from her community in Brooklyn and her journey of self-discovery. I recently watched the Lord of The Rings saga for the first time (please no judgement on the rock I’ve been living under) and LOVED finally appreciating the brilliance of that. I’m very much looking forward to delving into the third series of Killing Eve as Jodie Comer can do no wrong in my eyes. I also love fashion and a stickler for a reality TV show at the best of times and have really enjoyed Making The Cut on Amazon Prime - the talent is of such a high calibre, the budget is huge and Naomi Campbell is a judge so I was sold from the get-go!

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

In terms of interaction with friends, my social calendar has surprisingly been filled with a horde of pub quizzes! I’ve done more quizzes in the last three weeks than I have done in my life and I’ve been completely here for it. My liver would probably disagree but just being able to interact in this way over Zoom, Facebook Messenger, whatever forum, it’s just been that next best thing in keeping my spirits and also something to look forward to on a daily basis. I’m also an extremely competitive person so it also brings out that side of me I often try to suppress so I’ve had to have several words with myself as not to overdo it! Samuel Holmes does a brilliant one on Sunday evenings which are always great fun via Facebook and Instagram! Houseparty has also proved entertaining!

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

With regards to the future and what I’m looking forward to most, I just can’t wait to get my head back in the game and CREATE again. I love the industry, however tough it can be at times, and I miss physically being a part of a production with peers and creatives. I’ve lived in London my whole life and miss the commuting (a sentence I never thought I’d say!) and I miss the South Bank, beer gardens and my family. I can’t wait to spend quality time with friends over a roast, at an actual pub, on a Sunday. But most importantly, I can’t wait to go and see a show! I didn’t realise how much I’d miss the theatre until we couldn’t go and I am so excited for those first few weeks when shows are up and running because the energy bounding off the stage and throughout auditoriums will be euphoric and I can’t wait to experience them, in whatever capacity.

We'd like to thank Rodney 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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