Sunday, 3 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Nathaniel Morrison



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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Nathaniel Morrison most recently appeared in the West End cast of Waitress at the Adelphi theatre. His other credits include Stevie Wonder in Dancing In The Streets (Cambridge Theatre & UK tour); Jorge in Tonight’s the Night (UK tour); Trevor Nunn’s production of Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre); Napthali in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi Theatre); Sister Act (Palladium); Hair (Ljubljana Festival, Slovenia); Hairspray (UK tour); Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre & UK/Ireland Tour) and Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch 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 on my scheduled holiday in Israel when I got the news. Although I had thoughts of there being a possibility that the Pandemic could amount to the closure of theatres, (considering the discussions I had concerning the complexity of me still going on my holiday with my then incredible company manager Phil Sykes), I was somewhat hopeful that it wouldn’t amount to that and by the time I returned, the virus might be under some kind of control!

Obviously, quite the contrary soon became apparent and I soon acknowledged the severity of the situation. My initial response was shock and that awful, sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. I immediately began to entertain the idea of there being a stop put to something that I love in a production I love containing an incredible company of cast members, Stage Management, Band members, technical crew and Front of house staff! A sadness came over me and my mind began to race concerning the domino effect it will have on all businesses and us all as a nation! 

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

Since the pandemic, I was approached to do an online concert entitled 'Leave a light on' produced by the fantastic Theatre Café and Lambert Jackson for which I was humbled and grateful to be included in as it was a great opportunity to do something to show love and help encourage solidarity within our industry.

After weeks of reluctance, I eventually succumbed to the notion that with all the lovely Caribbean cuisine at my disposal having returned to my Birmingham family home- I ought to take advantage of my incredible theatrical counterparts Instagram live fitness workouts! I really do admire them! Needless to say, I soon discovered that becoming unfit is something that can occur almost overnight! Now I make it my business to work out at least 3 times a week.

On top of that, I’m still liaising with clients who continue to show interest in The West End Gospel Choir, adjudicate on the panel for West End MT’s online auditions as well as facilitate masterclasses and q & a sessions for the incredible, unwavering and determined students there.

I’m also still very active establishing and working hard in my position as Creative Consultant for Red Talent Management so fortunately, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been kept extremely occupied and am fortunate to still be involved in an industry that I love despite its challenges. I do have to ensure however that time is taken for self-care, meditation, prayer and reading my Bible. 

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 that that’s where my meditation, prayer and bible come into play! When it starts to feel like that on social media, I think it’s important to identify that then is the time to come off the sites, take a break, converse with your family and loved ones, enjoying a different and what I think should be a primary dimension in life! Trust me- I’m no professional at this but I’ve learnt the importance of discipline and self-control particularly during these unprecedented times. 

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

Even though I’ve just encouraged a break from social media, the more positive side to it is how people are being so creative online! Yes, buildings might be shut down but The Arts really isn’t! There are incredible Artists in the Arts doing incredible things on Facebook, Instagram, zoom! There are classes, masterclasses, q&a’s of great quality to take advantage of. I’ve learnt so much recently because of it and I’ve discovered so much of what exists in the world of the Arts thanks to the creativity of these artists and the power of creativity!

So, in short-get involved, support the industry online as that in some ways keeps The Arts alive and these artists deserve the support considering the sacrifices and dedication they’re offering up to ensure that the Arts industry remains alive! 

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

I’m assuming that by now most may have watched the series of “Love Is Blind” if that’s your thing. If you’re anything like my mum, you’ll blitz through the incredibly intriguing and positively inspiring series in a day or two! It reminded me of what Love really is about! Check it out if you haven’t. There’s so much out there but my two main books right now are “The Bible” and “Happy” by Derren Brown. If you’re a lover of Gospel music, there’s also The Clarke Sisters story that you can buy and download! They and their story are extremely incredible and inspirational in the gospel genre don’t you know! 

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

Fortunately, there seems to be a wealth of online quizzes so there are those to look out for! Recently a lot of people are taking to The Apps:- Houseparty and Zoom however there has been speculation regarding the security on them although there is always good old Facetime and Skype! I think this is and has been for me a great way to see my friends and loved ones throughout this time of Isolation and social distancing! 

I cannot express how much this helps! I’m pretty sure I chatted to my Sister from Another Mr Marisha Wallace for nearly two hours the other day, needless to say, we both expressed gratitude for these telecommunication apps offering us the opportunity to catch up and check in on each other face to face. Other than this, my two-year-old nephew who has been in isolation with me, my mum and dad has kept us on our toes! 

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

I’m looking forward to a hopefully refreshed world where having endured such a catastrophic pandemic, we will care more for each other, the planet and the value of life! It might sound corny for some but I do believe that that’s where we need to be, coming out of this! 

I’ve gotten excited deliberating with friends concerning the hope for a revival of creativity, love, acceptance and equality Considering how impartial this pandemic has been bringing about a common ground amongst mankind where we’ve all experienced the same thing without any indifference realising that we really are all in this thing called life together! 

Most of all I think all we have is the most powerful force and energy ever and that is hope, despite how different the days to come are going to look, a positive, mental attitude is what is going to get you through each day! My main message would be- let’s not slight the power of our minds and the way we can engage it to control and garner success and positive achievements each day! 

We'd like to thank Nathaniel 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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