Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Evie Rose Lane



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.


Evie Rose Lane will play the role of Ariel in the UK touring production of Footloose. Her other credits include Musical Director for Menstrual Cups (Cabaret); Assistant MD and Musical Supervisor for Songs For Jeremy(Southwark Playhouse); Stove/Dingo Dog & Assistant MD in Just So (Barn Theatre) and Judy in 9 to 5 (Bridewell Theatre). 

Let's stick together, share the love and get through this as a community!

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?

Well, the timing of when I saw the news has a twinge of irony about it. I’d been due to start rehearsals for the Footloose tour a little less than a week after the day lockdown was announced, and I had just recorded a podcast with (the gorgeous) Andrew for West End Frame that same afternoon. And within that podcast, I think it was the first time I’d allowed myself to finally accept the job as a reality and get truly excited about it, and when it was actually released Andrew had to do a disclaimer before the interview to explain everything. So I found out about the closures and the postponing of the show on a busy train on the way home from the podcast recording, and I had to try and remain cool and calm despite that awful instantaneous flood of sadness and fear for all my friends, for all the shows, for my fellow castmembers. 

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

I gotta say, I wish I’d been more productive than I have been. I did actually have COVID from the end of March and throughout April - it went on and on, I don’t think people, on the whole, realise how persistent and enduring it is - and I think that really drained me of energy for quite some time, creative or otherwise. I’ve taken part in quite a few online concerts, lots of them charity things, which I’m happy to do and I appreciate people asking me. I’ve shared some new material, worked on some new arrangements, but I think there has been that looming sense of obligation over creative people, notably people in our industry, to use this time as productively as possible, which I think has made some folks including myself feel somewhat guilty for not feeling capable of that level of productivity. This situation is clearly both unprecedented and entirely unfamiliar, and at times I think it’s enough just to be coping and keeping on keeping on. 

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 it’s important to let people feel negative emotion, and we can’t necessarily disapprove of or counteract people using their socials as a platform for expressing that at a time when in-person socialising has been prohibited and a lot of people are by themselves. And sometimes it’s nice to feel you aren’t alone in your own negative emotions. Nonetheless, I’ve tried as best as I can to keep up communication with my friends and those who make me happy, I’ve watched and read a lot of familiar movies/shows/books - I find returning to old favourites so soothing in times of uncertainty.

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

In this period where the black lives matter movement and the resulting huge conversations about systemic racism are happening and coming to a head, I believe we can take this moment to reevaluate our industry and its many pitfalls in regards to the treatment and representation of the BIPOC members of our community. 

Of course, I’d say its crucial for people to keep up and continue to express their enthusiasm for the arts and its artists - contribute to charities devoted to protecting it, put pressure on our government and those at the top to promise us a future through letters and petitions, all that important stuff. But I think the reality of our black peers in this community having to simultaneously shoulder both the weight of the theatre industry’s vulnerability and the weariness and fear of heightened racial conflict should push us to seek and demand change internally on both sides of the table, and to devote as much time as possible to uplift the incredible work of black creatives and performers in the UK. I’m sure many besides myself have little interest in putting our trust in those who refuse to take accountability at this time, and the community is gonna need to be united to survive all of this.

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

In line with what I’ve just mentioned, I’ve read/watched/listened to some really enlightening work from black creatives - “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge, the “1619” podcast from the New York Times, “The End of Policing” by Alex S. Vitale, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and all the works of Maya Angelou, frankly every word written by one of my favourite authors James Baldwin. “13th” and “Moonlight” I rewatched recently, two extraordinary films. I also just finished “Schitt’s Creek” which I’d recommend to literally anyone struggling to find some joy. The National Theatre are streaming previous productions on a regular basis and I’d highly recommend checking any of those out.

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?!
Well, I’ve always been a bit of a quiz nut, and have come to realise my highly competitive nature perhaps has made me a slightly less “fun” contender on all the zoom ones, though I highly enjoy them nonetheless. My Nintendo switch has been an actual lifesaver. I will never again underestimate the power of Mario Kart, it’s without question been my favourite form of socialising with my pals sat yelling at their TVs just like me, many miles away. 

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

It’s so simple, but truly just seeing my favourite people in person. I’m desperate to host a dinner party, which is admittedly a first, but a real desire nonetheless. And to see my grandma, who’s been stuck at home in Wales on her own - I cannot WAIT to see her.

We'd like to thank Evie 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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