Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Ashley Luke Lloyd



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!

Ashley Luke Lloyd was most recently seen in Flashdance as Joe touring South Korea. His other credits include Ensemble in the original London cast of Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre); John in Jesus Christ Superstar (UK Tour); Ensemble in Legally Blonde (South Korea); Eddie in Mamma Mia (International Tour); Francis & Alvin in Loserville (Garrick Theatre); Michael in the original cast of Billy Elliot (Vicotria Palace) and Troy in Hollyoaks. His Choreographer credits include Burlesque'd Live (Turbine Theatre, Aeronaut, UK Tour); Closer To HEaven (Above the Stag); Oliver (Theatre Royal Windsor); Mad on Her (UK Tour, Above The Arts) and Guy the Musical (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 actually on my last day of choreographing two shows for the incredible Talent Artistic Group. One show is called Sweet Nothing, which is a Calvin Harris Experience opening in Ibiza, and Forever Young, an 80s Jukebox Show. Both shows were on hold however I've just heard the casts have been told that the contracts resume and they will be flying out shortly to perform with socially distanced guidelines. Truly over the moon for them and the company - I felt very lucky because the company was incredibly supportive towards myself as creative and we all kept connected. 

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

I just can't stay still. Ever. When I was in Dreamgirls, my favourite show ever and I can't believe I was in the original cast, whilst in the show at the Savoy with Amber Riley I wrote the book to an 80s show called Mad On Her - we put it on at the Studio Theatre at The Arts in Leicester Square every Sunday and it was amazing! So in Lockdown I've been producing a Reality Dating Show called Lovedown which connects people online via speed dating and house party's we've done two seasons including a special LGBTQ season and honestly the entire casts have stayed friends and some even have a little romance going on- I'm very proud of it, you can check us out on our social media platforms which is FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube - it's quite theatrical actually and you might see some familiar faces. I've also been teaching lots on Zoom which I absolutely love, the kids have been a saving grace to my fitness and they bring a smile to my face and the dedication to keep Training even at a young age is so inspiring. 

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?

Eating good food. Drinking a nice amount of Pinot and keeping connected to the good people. My friends and Family! More importantly, doing what's right for you. I've been teaching lots and exercising lots via Zoom. But also taking days out to walk and watch good movies. I really don't think there is an ABC how to do Lockdown but staying connected with Loved ones and looking after yourself. 

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

I think speaking out is the first thing we can do. Giving any change to charities. Keeping each other informed and sending the right messages to the government. We are in need. But NOT STOPPING! We need the Arts. So keep singing, keep dancing and keep expressing! 

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

I've loved everything and anything linked to Ryan Murphy - Hollywood, The Politician and American Horror Story. I'd never seen the Harry Potter films until lockdown. And I loved them! Also Writing. Writing things always helps me. 

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? 

My family and I did our own eurovision where we all cooked foods from our chosen country and played quizzes and games that was so much fun! And yes Zoom chats galore! And connecting with new people via Facebook networking sites. Other creatives that I may never have connected with out of Lockdown. Shout out to Dianne who I met in Lockdown and now we're new business partners - Dianne Co produces my Reality Show. 

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

Going on holiday with my loved ones. But, everything! Literally - wine in Covent garden, A cheeky matinee, Getting the first-night nerves and more importantly being able to sing and dance with each other once more, It won't be long!  

We'd like to thank Ashley 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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