Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jacob Yarlett


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Jacob Yarlett is currently is The Book of Mormon in the UK & International touring production. He is making his professional debut standbying for the role of Elder Cunningham after graduating from the London College of Music. He also made his West End debut in the show, saving the day as an emergency cover for the London Production! 

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? 

We were at the Birmingham Hippodrome and we’d just had the call to stage for the company warm-up before the show and then all of sudden everyone was there. All the cast, crew etc. and the news was broke to us that all theatres were closing for the foreseeable. So we said our goodbyes and packed our dressing rooms up. I don’t think it quite sunk in at the time ( I still don’t think it has now) as I just kept nervously laughing whilst packing my things away. Everyone was in shock as we didn’t really know what was happening because something like this has never happened before on this scale in the industry.

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

I’ve listened to Patti LuPone’s audiobook (several times), done two workouts and ate absolutely everything. I’ll be honest, I’m really bad at keeping myself productive unless I’ve made plans to go out which is quite difficult to do at the moment. So please send some tips my way. However, I did pick up my very dusty guitar the other day having not played it for quite some time so I’m definitely going to crack on teaching myself again.

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? 

Social media has been a weird one since all this started as there is such a mixture of the good and the bad. The news outlets sharing all different statistics and stories on the virus which can be confusing and scary and leading to the spread of misinformation and “fake news” and it is easy to get sucked into all of that. But I’ve seen so much good on there which is very refreshing. To see people from all different lines of work coming together and lifting each other up. Seeing stories about how people are offering their services to others in order to help and bring comfort to those who are in need. I’d say this has been a wake-up call for everybody how more than ever we need each other. Hopefully it will continue to carry on once the pandemic is over. 

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

There is so much out there currently people can be doing to support the arts and most of it is FREE! On Instagram, there is over 100 daily fitness and dance classes available all taught by industry pro’s. One our swings, Tommy Wade Smith has lead some great jazz classes including warm-up, conditioning some technique and choreography. As well the daily concerts/gigs from some of the biggest names in the industry. There is Broadway HD. The National Theatre has opened up its archives as well where you can watch past productions, Digital Theatre has done the same. It’s all just a click away. Also donate to arts charities were you can. It is important to help people keep afloat during this time and little does go a long way.

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

I have just finished watching Tiger King on Netflix. Which I am sure everyone else has done. I’m still trying to find the words to describe it, to be honest. It was absolutely mental and I need to know more. I’m just starting to navigate my way through Disney+ currently which is quite overwhelming as there is so much on there. Our dance captain, Patrick George set up his own YouTube channel a few months back and there is lots of content on there about life on tour and behind the scenes look’s at the show. He’s just started a series on there called ‘Decent Exposure’ which is going to be a series of interviews getting up close and personal with industry people and Drag Queen’s. What’s not to love? His most recent one was with Bianca Del Rio and there are some amazing interviews lined up. I’m biased but the content he has been producing is great. So that’s something to definitely check out. If anyone has any discoveries please send them my way.

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

There has been so much FaceTiming. Lots of chats on Houseparty which has some great little games and quizzes on there. It’s vital to keep in touch now more than ever. Checking in on friends and family. Some of us were discussing how we take seeing each other every day for granted. Which is so true. 

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

I’m looking forward to seeing the industry bounce back. It will take time but the arts is resilient and people will need it once this is all done. Theatre will not just end. I absolutely love my job and I just cannot wait to get back to it.

We'd like to thank Jacob 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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