Sunday, 5 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Philip Joel


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!

Philip Joel is a Choreographer, working throughout some of the UK's most prestigious drama schools. His credits include Closer to Heaven (Union Theatre); Miracle of 34th Street (UK Tour); The Wizard of Oz (Peterborough); Hairspray (The Gaiety); My Son Pinnochio (Gordon Craig Theatre); Henrietta (National Youth Music Theatre) and One Man, Two Gunners (Theatre Royal, Windsor)

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 at home actually because I was already self-isolating. I was sad but at the same time I was glad that people were making sure that everyone was being safe and also, we'll be back! We've got a way to go but we'll be back and theatre will start up again, we'll all be back in the theatre again soon seeing all our wonderful friends performing again. 

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

I have been watching a couple friends online classes, I haven't actually been participating, I've just been watching! My house has never been so clean so I'm thrilled. I've been catching up on a lot of Netflix and actually been on youtube and watching a bunch of Broadway musicals just to get a bit inspired. Catching up with friends on FaceTime and seeing all their little babies, I haven't done a Bootcamp. Maybe I should, we'll see! 

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? 

To be honest with you, the moment I've felt a bit down with social media I've tried to turn it off because its a vicious cycle when you keep watching it and reading stuff. So the moment I've thought it was too much I've tried to at least turn it off and watch Disney+! I've been trying to talk to my friends and family every day as well. 

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

People are doing classes and concerts online if you can watch it and if you can donate any money, I know it's hard right now, but do! I'd say, the moment theatre is back up and running, go back to it. It's not just necessarily the big shows, they're important to go and see as well, but also the little theatres because they'll be the ones that will really need our help to come back. I can't wait, I'm gonna be back in the theatre 8 shows a week watching different stuff and support as much as possible! Let's get ready to get back to supporting each other! 

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

I'm not going to lie, Tiger King on Netflix, will change your life! Also, as I said, watching musicals on Netflix! Sutton Foster in Anything Goes, Stephanie J Block in Falsettos, I've had a lovely stagey time! 

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've done a couple of quizzes, I've done a RuPaul's Drag Race one that I thought I was going to do quite well in but I didn't do great, I did a normal pub quiz and again didn't go great but I've got a Harry Potter one next week which I'm quite excited about, I think I'll do quite well on that one!  

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

I am looking forward to going back to the theatre, looking forward to seeing my friends again and also going home to see my family who I haven't seen since January. And to just be back in the rehearsal room shouting 5, 6, 7, 8! I Miss it! 

We'd like to thank Philip 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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