Friday, 3 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Bradley Judge


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!

Bradley Judge was most recently seen on the UK tour of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, playing Dan and covering the Pharaoh. His other credits include Woof in Hair (UK and German Tour); Salad Days (UK Tour); Lewis in Pippin (Southwark Playhouse & Hope Mill Theatre); Rotelli in YANK! (Charing Cross Theatre) and Sonny in Grease (RCCL). 

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 was sat with my boyfriend, Harry, in the bar at the Southwark Playhouse ready to watch The Last 5 Years. We’d just heard the news via Twitter and I had lots of people messaging me asking if I’d seen. It was such a surreal moment, I hadn’t realised how serious the Coronavirus was in the UK and as soon as this happened I was in utter shock. We were in limbo at the theatre because we didn’t know if the show was going to go ahead. Fortunately it did and we were able to see what was the unofficial last performance of L5Y. It was a terrific, moving production with a wonderful cast, beautiful direction, amazing musical talents from not just the excellent band but also from the two performers. It was beautifully enhanced with spectacular lighting, set and costume. It was a strange atmosphere at the theatre that night because we were realising that it was probably the last time we were going to watch live theatre for a long time. At this point we didn’t know what was going to happen and how long the theatres would be closed for, we still don’t, but we have hope. It was an extremely emotional show but I was also heartbroken thinking about how wonderful our industry is and the future of it was so unknown. The next day we saw that the production had closed and what really struck a chord was that most likely a lot of the bigger West End shows will survive, but these gems of shows at the smaller theatres may not have the funds to keep going. I’m so passionate about smaller Off-West End shows because its some of the best theatre I’ve seen, indeed possibly my favourite job I ever did was Pippin at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester which later transferred to the Southwark Playhouse. There’s something about intimate venues like these that breathe magic into productions and they hold the most special place in my heart. With this being said, I have hope that productions like The Last Five Years will return. Katy Lipson is such a hard-working producer and I’m sure she will do everything to make sure this show is seen by a wider audience, as it should be. 

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

I’ve been keeping busy, doing exercise classes led by friends and trying to get out of the house to breathe in the Yorkshire fresh air when I can. I’m currently at my family home in West Yorkshire. I’m so lucky for it to be in the countryside so I’m out spending a lot of time with my family, cats and chickens. One deep regret is that I was supposed to be a part of a live streaming cabaret series. I was to be performing the concert as a duo with Harry, but now we’re apart we sadly had to postpone. I’m currently exploring ways to offer any services I can and open to all opportunities!

Whenever you log onto social media there is so much negativity circulating. How have you been trying to keep a positive mental attitude during these times? 

Funnily enough I haven’t seen a lot of negativity on Social Media, instead, I’ve had my feeds full of funny memes, jokes, clips of performers sharing them singing, doing monologues and offering constant entertainment with hilarious videos. Our community is so creative I’ve loved seeing some absolutely wild content - keep it coming, they’re making this isolation period a lot more bearable. 

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

This is a tough one because everything has been suspended. We must make sure that we are supportive of anyone online doing classes, live-streamed concerts and whatever else may be out there. The real thing will be to make sure the industry is thriving when we come out of this, going to see as many shows as possible (especially the smaller shows by producers who will have lost so much because of this). For fellow artists, we need to remember we are only on pause, we all need to be audition ready and at the top of our game as soon as we get the go-ahead. 

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

I’ve been doing a ’21 Days of Abundance’ meditation programme provided by my wonderful friend and fellow performer Megan Armstrong. It’s a series of meditations accompanied by a task followed and an audio track to guide you. The tasks vary from writing a list of people who add value to your life to writing on receipts, where you’ve treated yourself, messages that make you feel okay about spending money. I sometimes struggle to focus when meditating, but it encourages me to take a moment out my day to just stop, reflect and concentrate on the positive aspects of my life. I’ve also been watching some of my favourite musical films and I’m trying to stop myself investing in Disney plus due to lack of funds but I think it's becoming a priority, watch this space!

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

I’m currently with my family, unfortunately not with Harry, but we stay in touch by technology - video calling lots and playing games with each other through the app HouseParty. In the house we’ve been doing lots of Quizzes, Jigsaw puzzles, watching films, baking and laughing a lot.

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

What I’m most looking forward to is seeing our community regroup and grow in strength. People are going to really appreciate everything and especially the arts. I can’t wait to see how people use their talents and gifts to create wonderful theatre again. Mostly I can’t wait to get back on stage again and in the words of a 3’ 3” bundle of dynamite - LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU! Sending love and well wishes to anyone reading this. 

We'd like to thank Bradley and all the other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature. 

For more information please visit GOV.UK and NHS.co.uk

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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