Tuesday, 16 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Khalid Daley

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Khalid Daley was most recently seen in the touring production of War Horse. His other credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK and Ireland tour); Hamlet (open-air tour) for Changeling; Careen – The True History of Bonnie and Clyde (Birmingham REP); Godspell (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); Sweet Charity (National Youth Music Theatre) and Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies (Birmingham Hippodrome). 

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 in Perth for the International leg of War Horse and because we were eight hours ahead, I didn’t find out till Tuesday morning. It was a complete whirlwind of questions and what was going to happen to our industry and our jobs. It was just heartbreaking man. I remember feeling so anxious that day, that I had to do a meditation session with my friend which really helped. 

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

I’ve been getting myself into a routine, just for the sake of some normality really. I’ve been joining workouts on Instagram in the mornings, which have been great. I’m currently writing a script and in the words of Phoebe Waller-Bridge - “I find writing really hard”. At the moment, I’m not sure whether its for theatre, television or film but I’m just writing, seeing what happens and enjoying it. I feel like this spare time has given me the freedom to be creative when I want and how I want. Like I’m able to work on songwriting and music (but no live streaming concerts anytime soon, unfortunately) with there being no pressure and I can go at my own pace. 

I’ve also reminded myself that there’s no need to be super productive all the time. Everyone is different but I know being productive in some way just helps me mentally, especially being indoors most of the time. 

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 find social media to be a blessing and a curse. For me at the moment, it’s about managing how I use it and how much of my time I give to it, because it can be so time-consuming. So like now, I put a limit on how many times I go on a day especially when it comes to Instagram and Twitter. If I see any negative content on social media, I either scroll past it, hide it or mute whoever posted it. It can be so mentally draining and if I feel like it’s getting too much then I just log off, delete the app and leave it for a couple hours or days, do some writing, listen to music, watch something Netflix or play Sims 4 and then come back to it. I just feel like looking after your mental health is so important. 

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

I think it’s the case of checking to see what’s available and seeing how you can help or be part of it. Like I see so many people doing free online classes, workshops, one-to-one sessions, fundraising and I think it’s incredible. The fact you can watch so much theatre online is such a blessing. Honestly, when we help each other out and work together during times like these, it reminds me why I love this industry. 

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

I’ve read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and I urge everyone to read them. They’re so incredible! I binge-watched Normal People, after finishing the book a couple weeks before it aired and I thought the adaptation from book to screen was done brilliantly, tastefully and the performances were fantastic. Also, Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance documentaries on Netflix are beyond inspiring. They were getting me emotional left right and centre man. 

I’ve started listening to Dissect, a music podcast series, through the recommendation of a friend. Each season they take a critically acclaimed album that’s been significant in pop culture, analyse it track by track and really delve into the art, lyrics and body of work. The current series is centred around BeyoncĂ©’s Lemonade album and it’s magnificent. I mean BeyoncĂ© is just magnificent in general. 

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

As soon as I got back to the UK, I was FaceTiming and Zoom calling every day for about two weeks or so, just because I hadn’t seen so many of my friends and family for a while and I just wanted to see if they were alright but I’ve definitely slowed down now. I did a couple of zoom quizzes which have been really fun, despite the fact that I’m really bad at them. 

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

I’m most looking forward to enjoying life again, without all the restrictions. Seeing my friends and family, especially my nieces. I’m also looking forward to going to watch theatre again and getting a haircut. I’m in desperate need of a haircut. 

We'd like to thank Khalid 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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