Wednesday, 1 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Toyan Thomas-Browne


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Toyan Thomas-Browne was most recently seen in the UK tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. His other credits include Angel/understudy Lola in Kinky Boots (UK Tour); Bellboy in Me & My Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre); Moe in Guys & Dolls (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Wonderland (UK Tour). He was kind enough to answer some questions for us about his experiences. 

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 actually been finding a lot of comfort in reading at the moment. I neglected it for a while, especially been on tour for a long time, but getting back into it it’s so nice to have that bit of escapism for a couple of hours. I love me a bit of Netflix/now Disney+ and chill but really there’s nothing better than a good book. 

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

Keep spreading the love of the arts and theatre! Whether it be on a social media platform where you let your favourite actor or actress know why you enjoy watching/supporting them. Tag them in past shows they’ve been in if you have photos or finale videos. Things like that also remind the people on stage that theatre can and will affect people’s lives and without an audience there is no arts industry so even just knowing the excitement of fans/thespians raring to be back in a theatre again alone shows their continued support of the industry.

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

Well as you probably know Disney+ has just come out and I am living for it. Having the all the Classic Disney princess films as well as all the most recent animations out too on one platform is amazing! But I’m even reliving my childhood through all the OG Disney channel programmes on there like that’s so Raven, recess, Lizzie McGuire, Kim possible. I mean if that isn’t living your best isolation life I don’t know what is?! 

But if you wanna be super stagey there’s actually a Disney original series called ‘Encore’ where adults relive their high school’s stage productions with broadway creatives and it’s actually quite emotional having graduates go back and reunite with each in such a special way! It kind of highlights the power of theatre and how accessible it is for everyone and what impact it has on you even if you don’t pursue it further than just in high school. 

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? 

Houseparty and Zoom have been amazing platforms to have group catch-ups on. With technology these days the choices are endless. We even had an isolated group house party for a castmates birthday the other week where we played online games with each other, played music and danced in our own rooms. 

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

Seeing some theatre! The buzz in theatres are gonna be immense when everyone finally allowed to go back to work and I can not wait to sit in a seat with my glass of wine and chocolates and once again be immersed in the magic of theatre because there’s no feeling like it. 

We'd like to thank Toyan 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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