Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Glenn Adamson

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Glenn Adamson was due to star in the touring production of Bat Out of Hell, a production that has been delayed. His other credits include Theo in American Idiot (UK & International Tour); Terry in Secret Love: The Doris Day Story (UK Tour); Rowan in Sleeping Beauty(Gordon Craig Theatre); Ensemble in The Producers (Gordon Craig Theatre); McGregor in Where is Peter Rabbit? (Old Laundry Theatre/Theatre Royal); Freddie in Rapunzel (Gordon Craig Theatre); Billy in Little Voice (Union Theatre); Romeo in Romeo & Juliet (Liverpool Unity Theatre); Man in Songs For A New World (Bridewell Theatre); Aladdin (The Mercury Theatre); Ross in Departure Lounge (Unity 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 in rehearsals for Bat Out of Hell. I had been given a rare early finish and had met up with a friend for coffee. He was working on Come From Away at the time and was speculating that he thought they would close down that week. I was adamant that we were continuing stateside as we were due to fly to America a few days later (half my belongings including my trusty hair product and a brand new pair of running trainers had already arrived at our first venue by then - how will I ever get them back?). On the tube back from that coffee a fan of BAT had tweeted that our the governor of New Jersey had order closer of our first venue. I’d barely finished reading the tweet when my phone started ringing with my company managers name on the screen. And by 5pm the entire theatre industry worldwide was closed. I put my head in my hands, rang everyone I know for a moan, and then quickly showered put on my best jeans and went back into town to meet the cast at the pub for one final hurrah! We were lucky and all came together again the next day for a final run-through of our work and it was one of the most special days I’ve had in theatre. We knew we wouldn’t all get to do this amazing show again together for a long time so everyone rocked out and went full out. We gave every ounce of energy and frustration to that rehearsal room and it was really special.

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

I’ve discovered a talent for competitive eating (I’m 70% Ferrero Roche right now) and with that has had to come a talent for running. I’ve always been a terrible runner but I’ve managed to get up to running 30km some days! I’m basically Paula Radcliffe (haven’t urinated on any pavements though...YET!) - I ran a total of 350km in April. That is unbelievable for someone who used to stop halfway through a kilometre. All on a treadmill though - I’m looking forward to being allowed to exercise for longer than an hour outside so I can look at something other than a blank white wall. On that note I’ve also painted my entire flat White - clinical, I like it. And discovered painting is harder than it looks, especially when you haven’t got the patience to do more than 1 coat. I’ve also been streaming Body Coach every other day when I can’t face a run - I get hair envy though, especially when all my hair product is still in New Jersey. I’ve taught a few online masterclasses throughout the lockdown to keep my foot in and allow for some income. But mostly I’m enjoying seeing my family - I’ve not had more than a week at home since 2018 before American Idiot so it’s nice to get to be a proper member of the family 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 found it really difficult - especially with all the speculation about when/if theatre will come back. I think some outlets forget there is an entire community out there relying on theatre for their income and livelihoods. The speculation can really make or break my mood for that day. I’ve tried to change the people I follow online - I’m following more existential accounts - Buddhist mentors, Yogis. I’m spending a lot of time scrolling home stores and designing my make-believe home that I will never be able to afford. I’m about to really activate your cringe muscle now but I’m a massive fan of self-help/motivational books and speakers so I’m trying to put it all into practice and re-read their teachings. Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ changed my way of thinking and I quote his teachings all the time to other people so now I’m trying to put my money where my mouth is and take my own advice. 

You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are. - Eckhart Tolle (Told you I’d make you cringe but that’s me).

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

I think it’s important we keep buying tickets, we keep faith alive and show producers that there is still an audience waiting for the return. I NEVER buy tickets in advance, I’m a buy on the door 10 mins before curtain up kind of guy, but this has changed me! I’ve bought tickets to Hairspray and Joseph in advance just to try and support and show there is the demand for a swift return. 

Also, keep watching theatre from your lovely homes. I’ve watched ‘Flowers for Mrs Harris’ three times already. I saw ‘Love Never Dies’ for the first time ever from the comfort of my living room and I preferred it to Phantom! I’d have probably never seen it if it wasn’t for Lockdown and now I’m a massive fan of the show.

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

Podcasts galore. Fern Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’ has been a favourite of Lockdown. Russell Brand & Ricky Gervais’ eps are personal favourites. Elizabeth Day’s ‘How To Fail’ is also a godsend. If you’re struggling through this time any book by Matt Haig or Eckhart Tolle. Also, if you need a cry watch ‘A Secret Love’ on Netflix - I have a heart of stone and that broke it into a million pieces; and Unorthodox on Netflix kept me on the edge of my seat for a few days! 

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

Alex Lodge has been arranging regular Bat quizzes and they’ve been good fun. Also, I tune into Sam Holmes’ Camp Quiz every Sunday - I don’t bother with the quiz part - I just watch him for the entertainment. I’m there for the gags. After quarantine you couldn’t pay me to do another quiz, I’ve had my fill. My contact with friends fluctuates. Some weeks I’m super sociable and crave human contact. Other weeks I’m really solitary and feel anxious about talking to anyone. I feel like I have nothing of value to say to people now - I’m just making sure I check in on those I love and that they know I care about them. That’s important but I’m not FaceTiming people constantly as I feel I have nothing of interest to share. I’m a bit of a hermit at the best of times.

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

Honestly I’m looking forward to everything. Like a kid exploring the world for the first time - even the thought of Primark on Oxford Street excites me. I can’t wait to get a big fat coffee and cake from my favourite coffee shop in Covent Garden, hit Regent’s Park and hire a rowing boat for a few hours in the sun, smash a massive 99 with a Flake, and then go to the theatre that night. I’m going to see EVERYTHING. 

We'd like to thank Glenn and all 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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