If you belong to a union, it is advisable to check their homepages on a regular basis as updates are continually being posted
Equity’s news page is an extremely useful tool for theatre professionals that include actors, singers, dancers, designers, directors, stage managers, puppeteers, comedians, voice artists, and variety performers.
BECTU represents over 40,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries and has extensive advice for its members.
Musicians’ Union represents over 32,000 musicians in a range of industries.
A great source of help for musicians, but Help Musicians have launched a £5m Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund.
As well as union pages, many industry institutions are posting helpful advice and links for a number of concerns.
The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre is, and will continue to be, the West End and Regional Theatres’ mouthpiece. Their press releases and news can be found by visiting https://solt.co.uk/about-london-theatre/press-office/
SOLT and UK Theatre have created a microsite with links that supports theatre professionals during the coronavirus.
The Stage has provided a free page for theatre related Covid-19 updates.
SOLT also incorporates the Theatre Helpline. The Theatre Helpline is a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry.
Phone: 0800 915 4617
Trained staff are available to offer support and signposting on any topic which affects your wellbeing, including:
Actors Benevolent Fund
The ABF is a fund for professional actors and stage managers who are in need due to illness, injury, or old age.
Phone: 020 7836 6378
Mental Health Help:
It is vitally important to look after your mental and physical health in times of crisis, and especially if you are having to isolate with minimal human contact. Below are a number of links you may find useful. We encourage you to get in touch with any of them, or anyone at all, if you are struggling with any mental health issue.
The NHS is a fantastic organisation and we all love it! This should be a first stop shop if you are unwell either physically or mentally.
And if you are in need of urgent support, here are the organisations the NHS suggest you call immediately.
Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website ( https://www.samaritans.org/)
NHS (Urgent, non-medical advice)
HopelineUK (Crisis support for young people)
Call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41, ext 07786 209697 or visit the Papyrus website ( https://papyrus-uk.org/)
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
For people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason
Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight), Free, anonymous webchat with trained staff - Visit the CALM ( https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/)
Mind (The Mental Health Charity)
A complete resource for a number of mental health issues. Visit https://www.mind.org.uk/
Parents & Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA)
PiPA’s vision is of a performing arts sector that is effectively inclusive of the parent and carer workforce. They are becoming increasingly more visible in our industry (and rightly so!) and have a huge amount of advice at the ready to help the parent or carer in the industry, with a good resource for Covid-19 related issues.
Keeping Mentally and Physically Fit
A great app to help with anxiety, meditation, and sleep - they even have good exercise routines, to keep you limber during self-isolation. (this is not in anyway affiliated with CALM charity mentioned above)
A brilliant way to start (or maintain) your mindfulness journey with guided exercises, meditation, videos and more.
You don’t need a smartwatch to take advantage of fitness trackers. Runkeeper is an app that is trusted by millions of people doing daily exercise. Track your runs, set goals, follow plans and stay motivated. There is a free option with plenty of features, or a pro version that lets you compare workouts, coaching advice...even weather insights!
The Body Coach
There is a new internet fitness sensation, and that is Joe Wicks - personal trainer, sports nutritionist and now PE teacher. Millions of people now subscribe to his channel and he does morning workouts at 9am GMT every weekday, with hundreds of thousands of viewers tuning in (with numbers, no doubt, hitting the millions soon)
We realise that our community is going to need some drama to listen binge. So we pulled together a few suggestions that might prick up the ears.
Play Me is a podcast from the CBC which takes theatre plays transforms into audio dramas. Their offering can either be played on their site, or you can subscribe to their podcast to automatically download new episodes and plays when they become available.
Librivox describe themselves as “Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain” and is a resource for free audio recordings. Think of it as a Netflix for audio recordings. It is a mixed bag, with some audio better than others. But you can easily go down a rabbit hole here and think “I can do that!” Below is the link to their Shakespeare monologue archive, but simple search for anything in their ‘Advanced Search’ box for your listening pleasure.
Here’s a link to some essential theatre related podcasts and make sure to check out the Broadway Podcast Network.
If you’re not satisfied with the aural offerings listed above, and you’re in more of the Netflix / Amazon Prime / Apply / Disney+ mood, here are some suggested websites you can hit.
National Theatre Home
The National Theatre will be streaming four plays each week on Thursday night through the month of April. Starting with One Man, Two Govnors, each broadcast will be available throughout the following week until the next episode airs.
Subscription service Broadway HD offers Broadway and West End productions, with shows filmed live on stage (like NT Live above). Offerings such as Kinky Boots, 42nd Street, the Donmar Warehouse’s Harriet Walter / Phyllida Lloyd Shakespeare season as well as one off specials and documentary series. Personally, I feel it’s worth the £9 per month, which is cheaper than one Stalls ticket at most West End Theatres.
Don’t forget Netflix, where you will find movie musicals such as Les Miserable, West Side Story and Annie (among others) as well as iTunes which brings a more theatrical offering such as the Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Gala, Rent, Newsies and many more.
Failing these, it is always possible to go down a YouTube theatrical wormhole. Why not start at the Tony Awards Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialTonyAwards or the Olivier Awards Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialLondonTheatr
You no longer have the excuse of not having the time to learn a new skill, or revisit your showreel or (insert anything that can further your career here).
https://www.weaudition.com/ is a brilliant website that has created a community of actors, directors, casting directors and managers who connect through video for auditions, rehearsals for auditions or for reading work. Actors can also make money by being a reader for other actors on the platform.
This is a perfect time to work on your self-taping technique. And Shoot Me is the app that every actor should have on their phone. Shoot Me is a fantastic app founded by actor Cush Jumbo and takes the pain out of self-taping, allowing you to quickly shoot, edit and ident your takes. Sign up for free at https://www.shoot.me/
Culture in Quarantine
Creatives, if you have an idea to create a piece of theatre that resonates in this time of self-isolation, you need to check out Culture in Quarantine. The Culture in Quarantine Fund is a new commissioning strand launched by BBC Arts with Arts Council England to support England-based artists of any discipline to produce new works in creative media – video, audio and interactive – in spring 2020.
* This is in no way an exclusive list, but just a starting point. There are many links within the articles and websites here.Back to news