Keiran Brown has starred in a number of productions including Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, Wicked and Titanic and has performed all over the world. Also a talented photographer, Keiran has started an online photo shop with proceeds going to well deserved charities. I had the chance to talk to Keiran all about how he is handling life in lockdown and his hopes for the future in these strange and trying times.
First of all, how are you feeling about the whole situation?
I’m trying very hard to remain as positive as I can. I have my moments, of course, but I decided early on that there was nothing to be gained by just allowing myself to wallow and be defeated by it. It was tough to begin with but I think that we all just have to learn to adapt and remind ourselves that it is temporary, it is not forever. Perspective is also a good thing to remind yourself of. I think that a fair few people seem to have lost sight of it, so I intend to just keep swimming with these things in mind.
How have you been keeping yourself occupied during the lockdown?
Well, apart from some home improvements that are long overdue, I have taken up learning German again (I spoke a bit when I lived in Vienna for 6 years, but I got very lazy), I’ve been sorting out my music cupboard and am learning some new rep for auditions when things start to kick back in, and I’ve also started selling some of my photographs from my various travels, of theatres, backstage on several jobs etc. I’ve been snapping as a hobby for years but it has become quite a passion. The feedback has been truly wonderful so far. I currently have more than 200 images available to purchase via my online store kieranbro.picfair.com . I have had more than 12,000 visitors and many satisfied customers sending pictures of MY pictures on their walls! I still have a HUGE cache of photos to edit and upload so it is taking up quite some time! I am also donating 10% from every sale to charity; Strathcarron Hospice in Scotland and St Christopher’s Hospice in London. It is rewarding knowing that I can raise a bit for such a great cause and also very humbling to see my artwork hung on people’s walls.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
First up – a GREAT BIG SUNDAY ROAST at my favourite pub in Greenwich, then just being able to see friends and family in the flesh! And I think a visit to see SIX may be in order too (I’m OBSESSED!)
Is there anything we, as theatre fans, can do to help the arts industry in these trying times?
Support performers and musicians, however you can. For smaller theatre companies and producers, perhaps consider donating the cost of your ticket to them, as they are really struggling. Donate to the Funds for Freelancers initiative that Paul Taylor Mills has set up in you can. Buy tickets for online gigs, BUY MY PHOTOGRAPHS! When it is all over, GO see things as much as you can basically! And most importantly – BE KIND!
How have you been managing day to day life in quarantine? Do you have a routine, or do you just go with the flow?
I take it one day at a time. There is so much information and MISinformation out there, it can be hard to filter our some of the bulls**t! I don’t have a routine as such, I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I tend to work better with an impending deadline and obviously there aren’t so many of those at the moment so I am trying to cut myself some slack. I think that it is important for everyone in this situation, to be kind to YOURSELF too.
Do you have any advice for people who are perhaps finding lockdown hard to manage?
If you can, obviously adhering to the guidelines, take yourself for a walk once a day. The fresh air is great for the mind and soul. It also serves to remind that we are ALL going through the same situation. Again it comes down to the perspective thing really. So many people are still HAVING to go to work, putting themselves and their loved ones in danger to help get us through this. Remember, it will pass, eventually.
I see that you have set up a wonderful online shop for your photographs, and are donating to some very well deserved charities? Can I ask what inspired you to do so?
I just felt that I had to do SOMETHING. I am sitting at home, worrying about my own bills etc, of course, but I am lucky enough to have a fiancee who works for the police and has a steady income, so I am not going to starve and I have a fantastic family. I just wanted to be able to support myself but also give help where it is needed. If I can do that by also sharing my photographs, then great.
I loved the cover of ‘Bring Him Home’ that you did with The Barricade Boys and other fellow ex Les Mis cast members. Was there a particular reason as to why that song was chosen?
That song has long been sort of a tribute to our armed forces for The Barricade Boys. We were told this on a luxury cruise ship by some Americans who had sons based in Afghanistan. We sand it as part of our show and they were incredibly moved. We make a point in our live shows of dedicating it to all of the brave men and women of our armed forces and emergency services, fighting to preserve our freedom and safety, so Scott Garnham (who’s mum works for the NHS) decided that it would be a great idea for us to rope in some special guests and dedicate our version to our incredible NHS. So far it has been featured in press across the world and viewed more than 1 million times on Facebook. It is an incredible testament to high we all hold our NHS staff and how grateful we all are to each and every one of them.
You can see the video here