Monday, 25 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Leon Craig

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Leon Craig is currently playing Sandra Bollock in the London company of Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre. His other credits include Babkak & cover Genie in Disney’s West End Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre); Audrey II “Voice of the plant” in Little Shop Of Horrors (Salisbury Playhouse & Mercury Theatre); Queen Of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (UK tour); King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar (World Arena tour); Rodney in My Big Gay Italian Wedding (Greenwich Theatre); Melvin P Thorpe in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Union Theatre); Company in Myths & Hymns (Finborough Theatre, London); Sid/Inventor in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK tour); Montel/Jesus in Jerry Springer The Opera (Cambridge Theatre) and Chuck Brown in Over the Rainbow (UK tour). 

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?

Well, I was meant to be laid on a beach in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) in the Caribbean with my good friend Adam Strong, as we both booked a weeks holiday off work from our shows, we were meant to be flying out on Sunday the 15th March from London Gatwick, but because of the COVID -19 the airport decided to close the airspace (which was disappointing not gonna lie) so our holiday was cancelled.

So to cheer ourselves up we decided to have a spa day Sunday/Monday and then drive back to our family homes. When I was told about the closures of the theatre I was gutted, not just for me but also my Jamie family in London, but I had a feeling this was something that might last a while, but I am happy I am back at my home in Manchester with my family. Happy days!

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

Well, I have decided to do a new project called A BREW AND A BISCUIT which is my new online chat show where I chat and check in on an amazing line up of famous friendly faces I have worked with over the years, Have had some great friends on the show up to now, American Singer-songwriter (Melody Thornton) and TVs Personality and Ex Towie star (Dan Osborne) And Strictly Come Dancing sensation The Lovely (Debbie Mcgee) it's every Friday on my Instagram live at 8 pm, hope to see lots more people joining me, make sure to grab A Brew and a Biscuit though!

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 think there has always been negativity circulating on social media and always will be, sadly I don't think this will ever change and you will always come across it, I tend to use social media every day, but for me, if I come across it I just ignore it and move on, I don’t have time for it! Let’s focus on the more positive things right now, as we need it! There is so much going on in the world now and the last thing we need right now is more negative energy. I am all about being positive, you can even ask my friends!

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

The Arts are such an important industry! Even though theatres and the theatrical industry is on pause, there are so many things you can continue to do, like singing lessons online, fitness classes, tutorials, Q&As and concerts to watch, so much going on. My advice would be following and join in our community as we have so much to give. I will say if you want a good singing lesson or a vocal coach, check out Christopher David Mitchell and for fitness, check out Bobby's Bakery (you will sweat from every place possible - trust me). 

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

I love a good binge on Netflix and Amazon, I have even started Desperate Housewives again from season 1 which I am loving, the new shows I have watched and will recommend is Dead to Me season 1 & 2 and Nailed It, which is a show where 3 amateur bakers compete to replicate accomplished cakes and confectionery to win lots of money! (I love a good dessert) I'm also a huge fan of killing Eve, loving the new series.

I have also just downloaded Disney plus and my Nephew who is only is 3 is loving it too, he bops along to so many of the musical ones. I have also been watching and supporting friends on Leave a light on Concerts and supporting friends on Q & A sessions, in fact, check out a live Q &A I am doing on” Movie to Musicals” on their Facebook page on May the 28th 7 pm. For more details check out their page on Facebook! 

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 always what’s app message and FaceTime my friends every day. I went through my phone a few days ago to check my screen time, I won't be doing that again but right now its one of the only ways we can keep in touch, I cant wait to see friends and family again soon I miss them soo much!  

I'm a huge fan of quizzes on tv, I love The Chase, and Countdown, and Who wants to be a millionaire, my family and I love to geek out on these, maybe I will get the board games for Christmas!

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

I can't wait for a caramel soy chai tea latte from Starbucks! And to give hugs and celebrate life with all the positive people around me, I cant wait to get back out and give the world what we need, and that is A BLOODY GOOD SHOW! There's no business like show business!

We'd like to thank Leon 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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