Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: Vicki Manser


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!

Vicki Manser was most recently seen as the alternate Carole King in Beautiful on tour. Her other credits include Katherine Howard and Alternate/Swing in Six (Arts Theatre); Swing in Bat Out of Hell (Dominion Theatre); understudy Carole King and Genie Klein in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre) and understudy Rasa, Mrs Davies/Marsha, Peggy, Joyce and Gwen in Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter 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 at home in my flat! The day before I had just got back from Cardiff which was the last venue I did with Beautiful and the Monday I was supposed to be travelling to Sunderland but I held off to see what news the daily announcement would say, that was the day people were advised not to go to theatres and after that, it was just a waiting game to see how long it would take theatres to officially close. It wasn't long because, of course, we didn't make it to Sunderland! I was gutted, I was having such a great time on tour but I knew everyone in the industry was in the same boat as me and so the next morning I decided to write a song and tried to spread a bit of love and light. 

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

I've actually been so busy in lockdown it's been crazy! But I am so grateful! I love to be busy; I teach a lot of workshops, I have regular jazz classes on Instagram and zoom for my college Sharpe Academy, I do regular fitness insta lives with one of my best friends who is a PT, I'm studying, I'm writing music, I've done a few live stream gigs and probably most excitingly, I've recorded my first single! I am so grateful for the opportunities that lockdown has given me and it's connected me with people and allowed me to work with people that maybe I never would have connected with before! It's very exciting! 

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 think the world unfortunately at the moment is such a negative place and it really truly hurts my heart. I'm not someone who shows my emotions a lot, I find it quite difficult but I feel so incredibly deeply. I think that's why I like to keep my social spaces a happy and positive place as much as I can because that's what I like to see and sometimes I find the negatives hard to process and deal with. I find going for walks really helps calm me down and takes me away for a moment from all that's happening. I even leave my phone at home sometimes! That's something that I never used to have to do because I am glued to the damn thing! But it's so important to take some time out. 

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

Keep doing what you are doing! Buying tickets to online streams, workshops or even just watching a live or liking a post! Support is shown in many different ways and I know that I am so grateful for everyone that supports me and my fellow industry folk! It means the world! It's keeping the industry alive during these dark times! 

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

I've joined a few country music groups on Facebook that do live streams every now and then and I'm loving discovering new music and artists I didn't know of before! I'm also just enjoying my walks and time out time! Do what makes you happy guys, that's the most important thing at the end of the day! 

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've done a few quizzes and lost basically every single one! I am useless! It's so fun though and each one gets more and more creative! Again, it's stuff we never would normally have the time to do and it's great to connect! I'm looking forward to meeting friends and family outside soon! 2 meters away though of course! 

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

I cannot wait to perform again, I cannot wait to hear live music again but mostly I cannot wait to hug my family and friends again! I miss hugging people so much! In the meantime, I am so excited for my single release on June 12th! It's called 'Pick Me Up' so I'll hopefully be spreading my virtual hugs that way and picking up anyone who needs it!

We'd like to thank Vicki 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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