Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Nicola Hughes



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!

Nicola Hughes was most recently seen in Fairview at the Young Vic. Her other credits include Yellowman, Zarita in Simply Heaven (Young Vic); A Christmas Carol (The Old Vic); Allelujah! (The Bridge Theatre); Dotty in Caroline, Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre); Bess in Porgy & Bess (Savoy Theatre, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre); The El. Train (Hoxton Hall); Shug Avery in The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory); Yum Yum in The Hot Mikado (Watermill Theatre); Ain't Misbehaving (Derby Playhouse); Blues in the Night (Birmingham Rep); Fosse (Prince of Wales); Velma Kelly in Chicago (Adelphi Theatre); Lola in Damn Yankees (Adelphi Theatre); The Acid Queen in Tommy (Shaftsbury Theatre) and Margie in Crazy for You (Prince Edward 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 think I was home with my kids. I was gutted for our industry, first out, last helped.

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

I’d love to be doing yoga, learning a new language or reading plays right now but, I literally have been taking care of my 3 young boys. I’ve become a home-school teacher overnight. Overseeing up to 6 zoom lessons a day, plus trying to do the usual housekeeping jobs I normally do. To be honest I have not had a minute to myself so envy anyone who’s been able to discover new things during lockdown. I have however loved catching the online zoom reunion show performances. It has warmed my heart.

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? 

Keeping a positive attitude is hard at the moment but I’m trying to not watch the news too much and stay in my safe bubble. Its been a beautiful thing to check on family and dear friends and know that you are loved and to love. 
With the Arts temporarily shut down, how would you advise people to continue to support the Arts industries? 

So many people have said that without the Arts what would the majority of people be doing for entertainment during lockdown? The Arts are an important part of our daily lives. This should be recognised now more than ever. The Arts needs supporting! When times are tough theatre/television is the place we go to to escape.

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

I’ve absolutely loved ‘Normal People’ BBC I was gripped by this beautiful story of young love and how strong that love can be. Also 'After Life’ Netflix is just superb, heartfelt and funny as hell, Ricky Gervais is on fire.

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

Exercise! I'm not normally too fussed about it but I’m craving it so much! Oh and just hugging people, you know just physical contact!

We'd like to thank Nicola 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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