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Monday, 11 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Piers Bate

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Piers Bate was most recently seen in the London company of Waitress, in the ensemble and understudying the roles of Doctor Pomatter and Earl, at the Adelphi Theatre. His other credits include Gremio in Kiss Me Kate (Opera North); Ensemble in The Wizard of Oz ( Sheffield Crucible); Ensemble and cover Bill in Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House); Swing in Mrs Henderson Presents (The Royal Alexandra Theatre - Toronto); Cover Rolf in The Sound of Music (UK Tour); Ensemble in Singin' in the Rain (Kilworth House); Ensemble and cover Adam in Love Beyond (Wembley Arena); John Truitt in Meet Me in St Louis (Landor Theatre) and Ensemble and cover Corny Collins in Hairspray (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? 

Two days earlier on the 14th, we had performed our final performance of Waitress with Sara Bareilles, Gavin Creel and NaTasha Williams. They were following guidance to fly back to the United States before flights were shut down the following day. I arrived to work on the Monday knowing full well that lockdown was imminent but whether or not the week's shows would go ahead was still up in the air. We went down to stage for our company warm-up at 18:15. Our Resident Choreographer, Leanne Pinder was teaching the changes for the show that night as we had multiple people off sick as well as the Americans who had left the show. All the departments were called down to the stage for an announcement where we were told that all Theatres across the West End were cancelling that nights shows.

I wasn’t shocked. It was very much expected. The show was in a slightly unique circumstance in that we had a closing date in July, so I knew that any lockdown likely meant that we wouldn’t be reopening the other side of it. We had done a number of mini cast changes during our 13 months at Waitress and I had got a reputation for crying when anyone left. Now let me tell you, I am not an attractive crier. So the prospect of the show closing was not one I was looking forward to. The uncertainty over lockdown had meant that the entire previous week was quite an emotional one, but I allowed myself to treat the evening show on the 14th as the final show. So there was a little relief when it finally happened because living every show like it’s the last would have been emotionally exhausting.
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