Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Bree Smith


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Bree Smith was most recently seen in Evita at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. Her other credits include Dick Whittington (Theatre Royal, Stratford East); Rosalia and cover Anita in West Side Stroy (Royal Exchange Manchester); Ensemble in The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre); Henrietta in Scrooge the Musical (Leicester Curve); ensemble and cover Queen of Hearts in Wonderland (UK Tour) and ensemble in Eugenius (London Palladium).

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 just about to watch my friends in “City of Angels”, I arrived at 7pm only to find out that the West End had been shut.

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

I have been doing a lot of online dance classes and workshops with various dance schools and companies. I have also taken part in a few online concerts to raise money for different causes such as the Black Lives Matter movement as well as some other personal concerts just for fun and entertainment.

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 have been trying to post positive videos and pictures. Also checking in with friends that I may have not spoken to for a while or checking in on those who are posting negatively and seeing if they are okay and want to chat.

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

Continue to take online classes whenever you can and support online concerts as artists are only making a small percentage of what we were making in theatres now online.

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

Check out @KinkyKabaret, I performed for their 11 birthday. Also check out @westendmusicalbrunch and look at their musical concert marathon which I took part in to raise funds for an amazing charity called The bail project, All on Instagram.

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

Yes, at least three past casts that I have been in have been having online quizzes every few weeks which have been fun and they keep me busy. It’s also a lovely time to catch up with friends. I also have been video chatting to family more than I ever have in my life. It is wonderful. 

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

I am most looking forward to hugging my friends that I haven’t seen in months and just to get back to performing in the theatres and feeling that adrenaline rush again.

We'd like to thank Bree 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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