Saturday, 13 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Perry O'Dea

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Perry O'Dea was most recently seen in the UK Tour of Motown the Musical. His other credits include Eva’s Brother in Evita (UK Tour); Cover Michael ‘Mickey’ Johnstone in Blood Brothers (UK Tour); Isacheer and Cover Pharaoh in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (UK Tour); Ensemble in Oklahoma! (UK Tour); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (West Yorkshire Playhouse & UK Tour); Ensemble and cover Kemp/Hermit in Young Frankenstein (Garrick 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 working in London in two gyms at the time. I work at 1Rebel Victoria and F45 Cannon Street in between jobs. I had a mixture of feelings, anger, denial, scared it was a very strange time to be in especially in London. Two days later I travelled back home to the Isle of Man.

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

During this time I’ve spent a lot of it building my business’ which is very funny as I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur AT ALL but I’ve been putting in a lot of hours to the administration, website building, advertising creating content and creating E-BOOKS for I have also been a part of a few songs for the NHS one being ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ created by Chris Poon and a Manx (Isle of Man) one of Daydream believer. I have also been a part of ‘Bard from the Barn’ created by Aaron Sidwell creating an exciting Shakespeare piece all in lockdown.

There's so much important information and messages being spread on social media but sometimes it can be quite mentally draining and consume a lot of your time, how have you been trying to look after your mental state whilst using these platforms?

I'm very lucky that social media to me is a tool for my business and not something I sit on for a long time. I usually Type, Post, Off. I also find it lucky that both of the professions I love, Theatre and Fitness, are all about positivity and looking for the good so most of the posts I’ve seen have been of an uplifting nature.

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

The national theatre are showing a production every Thursday for free, however, they are taking donations as well. I would book tickets for the 2021 seasons and purchase any productions online that you can watch as well. There is a part of me that worries for the Arts however honestly deep down in my heart WE WILL come back. The Arts always has, through wars, depressions and financial crisis been there and got people through. The saying on the Isle of Man is “Quocunque Jeceris Stabit” Which translates to “Where ever you may throw me, I will always stand”. 

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

I’ve loved watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix which is about Basketball! But it’s about that determination and stubbornness of the Chicago Red bulls in the ’90s which made them arguably the greatest team of all time. It’s the mindset, passion and discipline which drew me to the documentary. Thursday have become my new weekend now with the National screening a new production each week, all being unbelievable.

I've also loved seeing so many friends putting on live classes be it dance, fitness, singing, acting it's actually amazing to see how creative we can be in any situation.

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

Zoom has been the saviour, hasn’t it?! Mainly just through zoom having catch-ups and a phone call now and again. I rarely come home to the Isle of Man so its been nice to actually have solid time here with my family.

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

I can’t wait to see friends, the hustle of London, laughter! So many things to look forward to, I'm excited to get back to life because I feel there will be a sense of gratitude for everything that comes our way on the days we're surrounded by people. It's going to be amazing!

We'd like to thank Perry and all other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature.

For more information please visit GOV.UK and

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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