Saturday, 16 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Leah St Luce


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Leah St Luce was most recently seen in the UK touring production of Beautiful: The Carole King musical. Her other credits include Kathy and Cover Judy in 9 to 5 The Musical (UK & Ireland Tour); Lisa in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre); Ensemble in Cinderella (Chris Hallam, Greenwich Theatre); Corrine in Come Back and Gone (BBC Radio 4); Zonia in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (The Young Vic) and Young Nala in Disney’s The Lion King (Lyceum 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 actually at home. My suitcase was all packed ready to head to Sunderland, our next venue. I remember feeling overwhelmingly stressed trying to make a decision whether or not I should still head to the station to catch the train to Sunderland or to stay put as no official announcement had been made yet. Luckily, I decided to stay put and booked a ticket to travel the next morning instead. Later that evening we received the news. I had mixed emotions. But mostly I remember feeling very anxious knowing that this was only the beginning of something very serious. 

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

There are days where I have the motivation to do a full work out and then spend the rest of the day singing/sorting through all my rep. Other days the most productive thing I manage to do is have a shower and bake some cookies. It's easy to feel guilty and compare yourself to others who are keeping extremely active during this time. There is no right or wrong way of how you spend your time during the lockdown. The main thing is that we’re all keeping healthy. If you come out of this with a brand new skill, I think that’s incredible! But if you come out of this lockdown only discovering the perfect skincare routine for you, that’s also a win! You’ve got to do what’s best for you during this crazy confusing time and that's okay!

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? 

As much as there is a lot of negativity circulating around social media, there is also a lot of positivity circulating outside of it. For example, until the NHS claps, I'd never seen some of the faces of the people who live only a few doors down from me and I’ve lived in the same house my entire life. We are all coming together to support one another and it’s beautiful. Especially within our industry! Everybody is going through the exact same thing right now so we can relate to each other more than ever right now. In regards to social media, I follow a lot of amazing accounts that post the most uplifting things. One of my favourite is an account named ‘we’re not really strangers’. They posted a quote not too long ago which read ‘when all this is done, remember to continue social distancing from things that drain your energy’ and I think that is the best piece of advice I have received in a while. I'm also a firm believer of what you put into the universe you will receive back. So just keep spreading love and light and the unfollow button is never too far away. 

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

There are a lot of links being shared around where people can kindly donate to keep the performing arts industry alive! A lot people I know have been teaching classes and putting on concerts from their homes to help support the arts industry. They perform songs from musicals they’ve been in and all sorts. I think it’s a great idea and probably the cheapest way for me to witness their incredible talents!

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

As much as I enjoy binge-watching a Netflix series, I also wanted to use this time to grow spiritually. I like to watch online services of Sarah Jakes Roberts and Mike Todd. A lot of my friends who aren’t religious or even spiritual also find themselves enjoying their services as they aren’t your ‘typical’ pastors. They talk about real stuff and their real-life experiences. They talk about insecurities, relationships, depression and they share their experiences with the world in an encouraging way to help you grow into the best versions of yourselves and I’m so here for it! 

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’m currently isolating at home with my mum and sister who are also in the performing industry. This is the most time we’ve spent all together in years as our work contracts never seemed to work well with each other. My mum has recently discovered Tik Tok, so whenever there’s a new trend she guilt trips my sister and I into teaching her the newest tik tok dance craze, which is highly entertaining and stressful at the same time. Also, eating dinner out of a container is the norm for those who work in theatre, so it’s nice to sit down as a family to eat meals with each other with a glass of wine. I’ve also been face timing my friends! Especially my friends who have been isolating alone. We’ve been having cute brunch dates and quiz nights which always are the highlight of my week. 

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

I'm extremely excited by the thought of laying on a sunny tropical beach. I haven’t been on holiday in a very long while! I was supposed to fly to Marrakech a few weeks ago with one of my close friends from college but unfortunately that got cancelled. So as soon as we’re allowed to fly again, I will be looking into that. But I’m most looking forward to being on stage again! I miss hearing a live band every night, being surrounded by so many talented individuals and doing silly pre-show rituals. I joked before about the fact as a performer you get used to eating out of a takeaway container, but I honestly can’t wait for that rewarding feeling of ordering an Uber eats from the comfort of my dressing room after a sweaty matinee. 

We'd like to thank Leah and all 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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