Monday, 6 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Matthew Croke

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Matthew Croke was most recently seen on the West End playing the title character in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. His other credits include Annie Get Your Gun (Crucible, Sheffield), Singin’ in the Rain (Octagon, Bolton/New Vic/Salisbury Playhouse/Palace), Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory), Wicked (Apollo Victoria), West Side Story (UK tour), Chicago (Cambridge), Shall We Dance? (Sadler’s Wells), Grease (Piccadilly) and A Chorus Line (Sheffield Theatres).

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

So away from my performing I run a performing arts school in Sheffield with my Sister so what's been lovely is being able to work closely with her on building our school and obviously working with our students (online). Very grateful to have had that to focus as in the past with me performing so much my sister has basically been doing it on her own! 

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?

It's a lot! I take myself away from it and tell myself that it's ok to do so! When I want to post/be more active I am and when I don't, I don't. Some days I use my free time to FaceTime my friends and family and that is the best medicine for me.

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

Well in this sense social media is key! To spread the word, donate, support in as many ways as possible! 

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

All the series, all the Netflix, All the Amazon Prime! I would love to read more but I'm a sucker for a good series. 'Normal People' changed my life! 'White Lines' was hilarious. 'Queen of the South' is awesome! 'Money Heist' is my wife's absolute favourite! I could go on and on! Oh and I love a good cry to 'This Is Us' too! 

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?! 

So every day is 10am coffee with all my family. Were stupidly close and with my Mum being diagnosed with breast cancer last year she was obviously classed as 'vulnerable' so didn't leave the house at all! So we made a huge effort. Also all the quizzes and all the bingos and I have to say I never want to do a quiz again!

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

Hugging all my family and friends extremely tight and being back on stage having a good old sing-song!

We'd like to thank Matthew 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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