Monday, 8 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Rachel John

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Rachel John was most recently seen in The Girl From The North Country at the Gielgud Theatre, playing Mrs Neilsen. Her other credits include Angelica Schuyler in the original London cast of Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre); Shug in The Color Purple (Cadogan Hall); Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard (UK Tour & Dominion Theatre); Felicia in Memphis (Shaftsbury Theatre); Mimi in RENT (UK tour); Meat in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre); Ensemble in Sister Act (London Palladium); Shenzi in The Lion King (Asian Tour & Lyceum Theatre) and Teacher in We Will Rock You (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 at home when I heard the news and my heart sank. I fully understood the reasons for this decision but my heart went out to all of our theatre family and audience members. The sight and sound of silence outside and within our theatre's is something I never imagined that I would witness.

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

I have been reading, walking and doing online workouts. I have found some hidden skills in baking and making wigs! I am also in the planning stages of hosting workshops. I really want to share my experience and see how everyone is coping.

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 am a person that likes to have all the facts but I felt quite overwhelmed by the rolling news. To balance this out, I watch the news on TV once a day and make sure that I am keeping a positive mental attitude by meditating, visiting Church online, praying and reaching out to friends. I find that I boost my mood by sharing love and jokes with my friends. It is not the same as face to face contact but to stop my own feelings of isolation, I have been reaching out.

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

People can continue to support the Arts by taking advantage of watching and donating to incredible productions online, by The National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's Globe and also, watching living room concerts, taking part in workshops and Q&A's. I have my favourite soundtracks playing to keep that light shining. I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, we will be back.

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 thank God for Zoom, Facetime and Whatsapp calls, because I have been able to keep in contact with my family in Trinidad as well as my friends here in the UK. I have not been in any quizzes as of yet, but have been talking a lot on Zoom, I am open to Quiz invitations!

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

Hugging! I cannot wait to cuddle my friends and family, I miss hugs so much!

We'd like to thank Rachel 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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