Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Lucyelle Cliffe



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!

Lucyelle Cliffe most recently appeared in Grandpa's Great Escape Live in the ensemble and covering the roles of Miss Verity and Miss Trifle. Her other credits include Ensemble, 1st cover Paulette & 2nd cover Enid in Legally Blonde (UK Tour); Ensemble & cover Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables (Queens Theatre); Ensemble & cover Madame Morrible in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre); Muriel in When Midnight Strikes (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Pitti Sing in the Hot Mikado (Landor Theatre) and Boeing Boeing (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? 

I was in Tescos getting my weekly shop & I had to double-take when I saw the news break. My heart sunk, I firstly thought oh no my poor friends & colleagues who are currently in work must be devastated and then I remembered that I also had a few auditions coming up that would inevitably get cancelled. 

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

I live in a building with 8 other flats, the walls are really thin so I knew if I was going to record some live singing it would have to be in my bathroom as it’s pretty soundproofed in there so I began ‘Lucyelle live in the bathroom’ and I’m still taking requests. It’s keeping me singing, doing what I love & making my friends & family smile. I take regular yoga & a few dance classes a week to keep me focused & feel energised. I’ve also increased my daily meditation practises as it calms my mind & helps me feel way more focused in these uncertain times.

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 try to keep a sense of perspective and remember what I have to be grateful and thankful for. I actually write a list of 10 things every morning in my gratitude journal before I start my day.  I set myself a task to learn a new song every day or at least 4 times a week to keep my brain & voice in gear. I also listen to a new musical twice or three times a week & pick a song from it to add to the to-do list! 

There are a lot of free yoga & dance classes available online on Instagram & Facebook that my friends are hosting so I make sure I do at least 4 of those a week to keep my mind & body healthy.

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

Financial contributions can be a big ask as we are by no means the only industry that’s struggling right now so I think the most important thing is to keep the spirit of live theatre alive by watching the many live-streamed home performances and online content that is out there. And if you have bought a ticket for a show and you can afford to do so then donating the price of that ticket rather than asking for a refund could make a big difference especially to an independent venue.

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

I recently binged the entire series of ‘Encore’ on Disney Plus where you see the cast of high school musicals reunite as adults to reprise their performances. It’s all about them rediscovering their love of theatre and how it enriches their lives which feels very topical right now! I highly recommend it!

One of my daily rituals is joining the fabulous Jess Parkinson, aka Musical theatre yogi, in her Live meditation on Insta. It’s open to all levels, it helps me focus & I adore every session. Highly recommend you check it out!

I adored seeing News Revue, One Man Two Governor's, Jesus Christ Superstar, Curtains, Eugenius, Fleabag & Flowers for Mrs Harris from the comfort of my home recently so please check them out if you haven’t already.

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’ve been FaceTiming family & friends every day and my husband and I are doing a quiz with friends every Wednesday & it’s honestly a highlight! Plus we’ve won twice out of the last 3 weeks! Hurrah!! 

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

Squeezing my family & friends so tight, having one hell of a party & watching the first night of a cracking musical, hearing that orchestra & feeling the energy from the stage! I love being creative, being a part of a company who are fiercely talented, who care so much about the industry & the show they’re in. It’s a tough industry but my god it’s amazing when you’re in it.

I can’t wait to walk to my next audition/rehearsal venue via Charing Cross & Trafalgar Square, I used to love walking around town, taking in these iconic sites. I never took it for granted then & I certainly won’t now. Theatre will be back & I can’t wait to be a part of it again! 

We'd like to thank Lucyelle 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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