Monday, 13 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Tinovimbanashe Sibanda

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Tinovimbanashe Sibanda is due to be in Hairspray at the London Coliseum as a Swing and Dance Captain Her other credits include Dance Captain / Swing in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe; Dance Captain / Ensemble in Jesus Christ Superstar (Barbican Centre); Ensemble in Strictly Ballroom: The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre); Ensemble in Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre) Ensemble in Cinderella (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury) and Ensemble in Peter Pan (Marlow Theatre, Canterbury). 

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 think I had just got home from my first day of rehearsals for Hairspray. During the day, there had been a lot of positivity in regards to continuing the rehearsal process. So my initial reaction was denial. I imagined that it was for precaution but wouldn’t really take effect.

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

I’ve been trying to find balance in my productivity and respecting that I may need to rest too. I’ve been reading, watching a lot of films and documentaries. I try to move/improv on my own as often as I can and I’ve also choreographed or just created with my housemates who are creatives too. Trying to keep the creativity and spirit of play flowing.
I love writing so this time as been great for writing new work and revisiting old pieces. Its been a great opportunity to put together all the poetry I’ve written in the past 10 years. I have no clue what I want to do with it but it’s been therapeutic so that’s something!

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?

My social media is already pretty filtered. I follow pages and people that I find uplifting, so that’s been very helpful. In times when it’s a bit more difficult to step away from circulating information that is triggering for myself, I just log off. Allow myself as much time as I need away from it.

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

There are some really awesome initiatives out there that have been set up to support the arts. A great way to support is by donating if you can. (The equity benevolent fund, Funds for freelancers) Some theatres like The Old Vic & National Theatre also have donation pages set up. So I’d say check out if what they do as an establishment speaks to you and if so, donate! 

Equally as important, a lot of people are sharing their art on social media. A great way to support artists is to engage with them. Share their work, get its it around and as far out and if you are moved by their work, tell them! Offer verbal support and encouragement!

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

Do you know what, Netflix. It has some hidden gems. I’ve been particularly captivated by films and documentaries made in Africa by Africans. Which I think is really important. There is an African proverb that says  "Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter."

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

Just a good old phone call conversation. And FaceTime!

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

I can not wait to bring to fruition all the dreams, ideas and goals I’ve been manifesting. I’m so excited to see and to be around loved ones! I want to get back to work and back to telling stories.

We'd like to thank Tinovimbanashe 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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