Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Savannah Stevenson


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Savannah Stevenson is probably best know from her time playing Glinda in the hit musical WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Her other credits include Theresa in Sense (The Other Palace); Guinevere in Camelot (London Palladium); Sybil Evers in Chariots of Fire (Gielgud & Hampstead Theatre); Aspects of Love (Menier Chocolate Factory); Martha in The Secret Garden (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Cinderella in Simply Cinderella (Leicester Curve); Understudy Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (New London Theatre); Young Sally in Follies (Northampton Royal Theatre) and Understudy Mary Poppins & Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins (Prince Edward 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 at home when I found out. To be honest, I was waiting for the announcement as it felt inevitable as the government started to stop gatherings. It felt truly sad. I was due to join a production in just a couple of weeks and all of a sudden that wasn’t happening any more. Really sad creatively and scary to have your livelihood taken away for an unknown time.  

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

I’ve just had a baby so actually for me, the positive of all of this is family time. Lots of it. My husband and I have both been able to really enjoy our little one at home, so really that has taken up all our time. I suppose my new skill is learning to be a new mother! 

We also did do our first Insta Live, I would never normally do that kind of thing but we wanted to reach out to others, connect, offer a song and a few laughs. It was actually really good fun and our baby managed to not cry for an hour! We might do it 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’ve really limited my social media time. I log on only once or twice a day. Catch up, post something hopefully uplifting if I want to and then I switch off. We do the same with the news at home. We catch the headlines each day and then switch off. Mental health is so important and this is a great time to practice letting go a bit. Things are out of our control so we must embrace the positives. This horrible situation has given us all the gift of time and to find more creative ways to show our love to family and friends when we can’t actually be with them. 

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

I think we are finding some really amazing ways to stay creative virtually and to get involved. Sign up to a zoom masterclass, watch a National Theatre production on YouTube and donate if you can, listen to cast albums and once this is over please come back! Buy a ticket and enjoy a show as soon as it’s safe to do so to help our industry recover as quickly as possible. 

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

There’s a documentary on Netflix ‘Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened’ where the original cast of ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ on Broadway recall the experience and where they are now. It really captures the heartbreaking importance of theatre in peoples lives. It’s wonderful. Also, the new Disney+ channel is rather great. Watch Encore! where former high school students come together to recreate a high school musical they were part of. Pretty funny and often heartwarming. 

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

One of the hardest things for our family is not being able to share our little one in person. So we are having lots of family FaceTime. It’s important right now to check in with friends so lots of Marco Polo and WhatsApp groups. We’ve got to look after each other. 

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

A family party with lots of cuddles with our boy, travelling, and getting back onstage. 

We'd like to thank Savannah 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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