Saturday, 2 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Nicole Deon


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Nicole Deon most recently appeared in the Miracle on 34th Street at the Liverpool Everyman. Her other credits include Anit in West Side Story (Estonian National Opera); Connie in Standing at the Sky's Edge (Sheffield Crucible); Ensemble, Cover Deena & Lorrell in Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre); Ensemble in The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium) and Ensemble in Mack and Mabel (Chichester Festival Theatre & 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 actually in Florida at the time the pressures of theatres closing and lockdown measures were being put in place. It’s the first time I’d been on a family holiday since I graduated in 2014 so it was a very bittersweet time. We continued to enjoy the holiday as best we could but it was stressful trying to keep up with the news back in the UK because of the time difference and also trying to figure out if we were going to be stranded or not! I also received confirmation that the next project I was due to start rehearsing in April was cancelled so yeah, I was pretty devastated by the whole theatre scene going dark for an undetermined time period! For all my fellow actors and musicians, choreographers, directors, casting directors, writers, producers, Agents, make-up and wig artists, stage management teams, conductors and many other departments I’ve missed; Theatres wouldn’t be able to run without people from each department so to know we were all going through this together was comforting but also disheartening. 

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

Apart from annoying my parents?! I’ve actually just been enjoying family time for the most part. It’s crazy because since graduating, the most time I’ve spent at home in any one period is like 2 days over Christmas, which is never the most relaxing! So I’m really cherishing this time with them. We literally laugh every day and keep each other entertained, they’re the best! Although I have become quite addicted to learning Spanish on Duolingo but whether that’s a hidden talent as such, I can’t say just yet! I’m also trying to stay healthy and pro-active with workouts and food but I’m really just taking the time to rest and tune into my mental health. Trying to be balanced! 

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? 

There’s a lot of negativity but also so much positivity too! It’s so encouraging seeing everyone banding together to either create fun quizzes for people to do, or stream live dance classes and workouts and just keep supporting each other through this time. I see a lot more positive things than I do negative and it’s fun seeing everyone do their creative thing!

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

The arts are such a vital part of society. The one thing people have turned to in this crisis is the arts; whether that’s all the Netflix people are watching, films, dramas on tv, listening to music and podcasts, reading books, just to name a few. All these platforms are provided by creative artists so I would just encourage people to give a little bit more respect to those in any form of the arts industry and if there are any supportive charities or schemes aimed at helping a creative out, or indeed keeping open theatres and booking tickets for future performances when they’re confirmed, I encourage people to do so in whatever capacity they’re able to!

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

I’ve been trying not to watch too much Netflix and find various activities to keep me entertained like doing jigsaw puzzles or colouring. However, I’ve finished season 3 of Ozark which I would recommend but also Money Heist is a number 1 for me at the moment, it’s brilliant. 

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’m currently back living with my parents so we’re having fun but I do have a games night with my sister every Friday over FaceTime, and that’s so much fun and something I really look forward to in the week!

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

As much as I’m enjoying the rest and downtime, I genuinely miss the beautiful chaos of theatre. The families you make in a cast are ones to cherish for a lifetime. I want to be back in a wig and a costume and playing a character in any format! I’ve been lucky to have had a few self-tape auditions through but I miss learning lines and fretting over song choices and just bumping into old friends randomly and making new ones. And I hope we re-emerge from this as a more gracious and understanding society with a little less negativity and a lot more love. Band together! 

We'd like to thank Nicole 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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