Monday, 8 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Benjamin Yates


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Benjamin Yates was most recently seen in the closing company of School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. His other credits include Ensemble/1st cover Fiyero in Wicked (UK tour); Understudy Jack/White Knight in Wonderland (UK tour); Riff and Understudy Tony in West Side Story (Kilworth House Theatre); Mungojerrie in Cats (The London Palladium/UK and European tour); Tommy the Musical (Blackpool Winter Garden); Jesus Christ Superstar (Really Useful Group world arena tour); Sonny in Grease (Ljubljana Festival) and Aladdin in Aladdin (Loughborough Town Hall Theatre).

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

I wish I could sit and reel off a huge long list of wonderful new talents that I have learnt over the last 8 weeks but I just haven’t. I have tried really hard to be focused and productive, I am really into fitness and a bit of an exercise addict, so I have been utilising the skills off all my wonderful friends offering their free Instagram live workout. I have also been running Musical workshops over Zoom every week.

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?

So I LOVE facts. I try and have as much knowledge on this pandemic as I possibly can by watching the news and the daily updates on BBC purely so I can make a clear judgment and form an educated opinion. There is so much negativity out there and a lot of it isn’t based on any facts, so I just have to tell myself “it’s only an opinion” and understand everyone is frustrated right now. Social media is a wonderful and terrible thing!

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

Watch our Instagram lives, like and share our singing videos on twitter. Donate (if you can) to some of the amazing charities that help the Arts. Also if you leave a comment, please be kind, I’m seeing more and more negative comments from fans of theatre and we do read that stuff, so please keep your support positive.

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

HOLLYWOOD on Netflix and Dead To Me has been a real saving grace for me. Also, Yoga, anxiety and stress is at an all-time high right now and effecting people that have most likely never suffered from it before. It’s so important to take some time out of our days to reflect. DigMe offer free live yoga on their Instagram every day. Check it out.

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

So I’m actually isolating alone and have been for 8 weeks now. At the start of lockdown, I made an effort to be on every Zoom call, attend every quiz and answer every FaceTime. Then around week 3 I had a little dip and found myself distancing from interaction. I started ignoring calls and avoiding friends. Still not sure what that was about but I came out of it the other end and I’m back being quiz master and zoom call champion. I’m going to be applying for The Chase.

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

Purchasing that first theatre ticket and a hug and a lovely dinner with all of my wonderful friends. Keep happy and positive people.

We'd like to thank Ben 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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