Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Alice Fearn



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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Alice Fearn is currently in the cast of Come From Away as Beverley, Anette and others at the Phoenix Theatre. Her other credits include Elphaba in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre); The Woman in White (Palace); Les Misérables (Sondheim); Awaking Beauty (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough); Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic); Into the Woods (Regent’s Park); Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy) and Oliver! (Watermill Theatre, Newbury).

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 on stage at the Phoenix Theatre. I think we were all expecting it at some point in the coming week but were not expecting it that day. The government announcement that day that all of theatreland will close indefinitely. I was not necessarily shocked, but really saddened. Never had anything like this happened before. For an entire community/industry to be shut down instantly is remarkable and incredibly sad. Theatre is an escape, a place to lose oneself. All were gone in an instant. We all grabbed the nearest bottle of wine we could and raised a glass onstage knowing we would be back just didn’t know when. 

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

Well, I’ve noticed I am better at baking and cooking than I thought I was. I normally don’t have the time or inclination to spend much time in the kitchen but the lockdown has given me nothing but time so I’ve actually found it can be quite enjoyable. We’ve been doing up the house, decorating here and there, fixing things that we’ve been meaning to do for some time. Other than that I have been involved in many online streaming concerts and cabarets that are keeping my creative side working. I’ve even organised a series of concerts for July/August which are an online, live-streaming series called Intermissions. I think we all need to keep theatre and performance alive as best we can during this dark time. It is something people (and myself) can cling to. 

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 looking after your mental state whilst using these platforms?

Well, I think its always really important to find a certain time of day you put your phone down and don’t look online or at the news. Our minds need some space to reset. I think social media is magnificent in what it can bring our industry. It gets our projects out there and it keeps us all informed of what other fellow artists are dong. However, it can be all-consuming. I always walk my dog Phoebe twice a day and never take my phone with me. That is my time to completely zone out and I think that helps. 

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

I would suggest any online streams, any projects, any concerts, fundraisers, new works, youtube clips, anything that is in any way related to the industry you must support and if possible watch. We need to keep the word out there that live performance and theatre is a huge asset to the world and cannot and should not be ignored. Plus is brings people a well-deserved respite from the, sometimes too difficult to watch, news channels. 

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

Well Disney + was an absolute godsend. Plus there are a number of musical theatre films and productions on there. I’ve really got back into reading and can’t recommend The Shadow Of The Wind (and it’s following 3 novels) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. 

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 have never done so many quizzes in my life and obviously, Zoom has been a great way to connect with multiple groups of friends and family. There was one quiz where we played the generation style game and that was a definite highlight. 

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

In all honesty, I can't wait to give friends and family an actual hug. It currently feels so alien to do that or shake someone’s hand even but that will be the moment when I know we are really through this. 

We'd like to thank Alice 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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