Hello stagey people! Olivia here, I hope no one minds these more chatty style posts, but with all that’s going on I wanted to switch it up a little bit and bring some more relaxed posts about how we can keep ourselves sane, and of course stagey, in these trying times. So with that, I’m sharing some of the ways I’ve been spending my time so that it might give you some ideas.
1. Online Courses: I signed up for both the Open University free courses and the FutureLearn courses. They have lots and lots of free courses in a whole host of subjects, ranging from beginner to advanced and are a great way to kill some time whilst keeping your brain active. So far, I’ve done three geography courses (I’m a bit of a geog geek) and am mid-way through a film and a music course. I’ve found them to be hugely informative and I’ve got my eye on a number of the Arts ones, including Approaching Plays and What Is Good Writing? You can sign up for free one the websites and do as many as you like!
2. Theatrical Artwork: Okay, so I’m not technically doing the artwork but I’m colouring in so it kinda counts, right?! The lovely John and Kayley aka The Stagey Couple have created a brilliant colouring-in sheet featuring loads of wonderful shows and it’s just excellent. The pair are creative, original and consistent with their content and I’m sure this isn’t the only activity they’ll provide us with during this lockdown.
3. Streaming Shows: If you’re reading this, I assume you know that there are a whole host of shows being put online as well as other musical related media. I must admit I haven’t watched loads but I thoroughly enjoyed Eugenius! and Jane Eyre. Also, Encore on Disney+ is my new guilty pleasure! I’m really looking forward to the future National Theatre productions that are streamed (fingers crossed for Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour) and it’s great that there’s so much on offer.
4. Concerts: As well as all the wonderful shows, there’s been a load of streamed and recorded concerts. The Leave The Light On series is an excellent showcase of performers resilience and talent and also a wonderful way to sneakily snoop in people’s houses, which we all secretly want to do! All the creative initiatives have been lovely to see, with Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton’s release of Grounded their concert recorded live in their living room, proving a real favourite with the Bat fans! It’s all just GREAT!
5. Q&As: This just seems like the most brilliant time to gain all the inside knowledge on this wonderful community we’re part of and that’s been easy to do thanks to the plethora of interviews being made available online. FYI I’m about to hit you with a self-plug… I recently started a podcast called Beyond The Boards with my friend (and amazing performer) Stephanie Rojas and we’ve been doing an interview series called Beyond the Isolation on our instagram. It’s all about how creatives are thriving during this time and I’ve learnt some great things and felt very inspired.
6. Quizzes: If there’s anything I’ve learnt during this lockdown, it’s that I love a quiz! I can’t even tell you how many I’ve taken part in but there are so many on offer and they’re so fun! On Monday I took part in The Other Palace’s theatre quiz and it was not only entertaining and informative, but was also a brill way of feeling part of the theatre community again.
7. Baking: Okay so on the whole my baking has not been specifically theatre-related but I feel like it’s kind of automatically stagey ’cause it’s near impossible to get your ingredients out without bursting into a Waitress number. I did make a pie inspired by the show the other day and it actually turned out pretty well so if you fancy whipping one up, I’ll attach my video here. But yeah, baking is just real relaxing, just don’t go Sweeney Todd to make it stagey!
So there are a few of my pandemic hobbies! I’m continually amazed at how well our community have come together to create and inform during this time and it can only make us stronger in the end! If you have any stagey ways that you’re keeping entertained, let me know in the comments or on social media!
In saying all of this, it’s also totally fine to do nothing during this time, you don’t have to be working and grinding. Just do what calms you, what makes you happy and what you want to do. In a way we’ve been blessed with this time so use it however on earth you want!
Stay safe and stay stagey,Olivia x
ps. as a side note, I’ve recently seen the #SpreadKindness trend on twitter where you gift people things from their amazon wishlist as a little surprise treat and I love it. I’ve had such a fun time sending little gifts and you might too! I also donated to the NHS because they’re wonderful of course. Feel free to reply to this tweet with your lists (this is mine but please don’t feel like you gotta send something!!!)