Thursday, 7 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Marcus Ayton



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!

Marcus Ayton was most recently seen playing the Lion in the Wizard of Oz at the Leeds Playhouse. His other credits include Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Union Theatre); Donkey in Shrek (UK Tour); Baker in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour); Genie in 'Aladdin' (Stratford Arts House) and Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live (Edinburgh Festival). 

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 at home when the announcement was made because I was kinda half self-isolating. I didn’t believe it at first but then I spoke to one of my close friends who was on tour and they then confirmed that this was true. It took about a day or two to sink in but then I was like, I can stay home and not feel bad about it now!

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

So I was lucky enough to be graced with a beautiful puppy called Jasper about a month before lockdown hit. So I’ve had the luxury of being able to train him due in this time. Having him has given me a routine but I still have the time to fit in my daily fitness workout with Rope, Hiit, dance and yoga workouts. I also try to do one thing productive a day, be it cleaning out that cupboard you’ve been putting off or getting the odd DIY jobs done around the house. Oh I've even taught myself how to make masks on my housemate sewing machine so I and others feel safe when I’m on my daily walk with the dog.

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? 

Being in this lockdown I’ve tried not to be on my phone (social media) or watch too much TV in the day. I have the radio on or some kinda background noise like a bit of Rupaul’s podcast or a podcast my cousins does with her husband called ‘Music to our ears’. So I’ve not really seen any of the negative stuff out there. Don’t get me wrong when it gets to about 6/7pm the TV does come on and I catch up on all the Netflix and Disney+ but I’ve yet to watch the Tiger King program so maybe one evening soon. 

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

There is some much out there for people to stay in and help out like Mad Trust and Acting for Others, also support all the free steaming of stuff. There's also so much theatre on YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. So people can never get bored in these times. 

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

Like I said before, doing that one productive thing really does help and don’t try to do everything at once because you simply won’t have anything to do in the coming weeks. But things I could recommend, for me having a schedule has really helped in these times, it really has made the days/weeks go by really quick. One film I can recommend for people who like horrors or thriller is ‘Girl on the third floor’. It's on Netflix, so go watch!

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

If I can say one thing this isolation times have really brought people together. I’ve been doing a lot of zoom quizzes and keeping in contact with family and friends via FaceTime/whats app. Which is a blessing just to see everyone's faces, I just wish I could hug them all. 

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

All I've been thinking about is sitting in a lovely beer garden with a dry Rosé with ice or a cheeky Crabbies. 

We'd like to thank Marcus 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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