Saturday, 11 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jessica Louise Parkinson


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Jessica Louise Parkinson is a musical theatre performer and a qualified instructor in Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin yoga and a Level 3 Personal Trainer. She is known online as MusicalTheatreYogi and a lot of her work is based around Yoga for Creatives. Her theatre credits include Mrs Hathaway & cover Rosalie Mullins in School of Rock (Gillian Lynne Theatre); Sally in The Hired Man (Cadogan Hall) and Ensemble & Cover Mary Magdalene in Love Beyond (Wembley Arena). 

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

As a yoga teacher, fitness instructor and personal trainer as well as a performer I've been adapting to the online life and offering my services remotely! Via my Instagram, I'm offering a lot of free classes including a free, live, daily meditation at 4pm on my Instagram Live and also weekly classes including flexibility training and yoga. As you may guess I'm a bit of a fitness fanatic so in my own personal practice I'm enjoying changing up my routine by finding new and innovative ways to work out and trying things I wouldn't normally! 

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? 

I have to be honest and say that I'm (so far!) managing to keep away from social media negativity however I do sometimes witness it and I do my best to step away from my screen. My daily walk or run is time for me to leave my phone off and have a scheduled break from social media and the screen. I also find that because the classes I've been offering are very positive and mindfulness orientated, I'm enjoying drawing like-minded people towards me and hopefully impacting on erasing some of that negativity. Daily meditation is also a lifeline to me keeping positive and productive.

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

I think that as performers, sticking together is the best thing I think we can do as well as supporting each other for however we are individually responding to this challenging situation. Everyone (including myself) is responding in different ways and every single way is ok. This is one way we can support our industry from the inside. From the outside, we can take advantage of all of the free/discounted resources and content that is circulating from both individuals and businesses/institutes. There are show streams happening, there are dance/fitness classes happening as well as much more and by getting involved we directly support the arts.

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

A friend of mine, as well as a fellow instructor at Gymbox (London gym) and actress Jemimah Freeside, has created a great radio station called QuarantineFM which is gaining traction and popularity and it's really excellent for those overwhelmed during this tough period. Like everyone else I'm sure, I'm also thoroughly enjoying Netflix time and re-watching all of RuPaul's Drag Race! 

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 have been FaceTiming and Whatsapp Video Calling so much recently! It's been amazing to connect with family and friends this way, even some who I haven't spoken to in months. Games wise, my partner and I have been doing jigsaws (not as lame as you might think!) and playing a lot of Yahtzee!

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

I'm looking forward to the genuine fire that will come from both industries I work in. The drive that performers and producers alike will have, the enthusiasm that will be in every student I teach and the opportunities that will arise. But more so than this I'm looking forward to hugging my Mam, Dad and close friends.

We'd like to thank Jessica 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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