Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Steph Parry


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!

Steph Parry is currently playing Kate in Mamma Mia! The Party. Her other credits include Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); Donna in Mamma Mia! (RCCL/Littlestar); cover Madame Morrible/Ensemble in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Mrs Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie (The Landor); standby Tanya/Rosie in Mamma Mia! (International Tour); cover Tanya/Donna/Rosie/ensemble in Mamma Mia! (Novello); cover Mrs Wilkinson/ Dead Mam/ensemble in Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace); Rosalind in As You Like It (UK Tour); Desdemona in Othello (Lakeside Arts Theatre, Nottingham); cover Star To Be/ensemble in Annie (UK Tour); Anybody’s in West Side Story (Larnaca Amphitheatre, Cyprus); Laurey in Oklahoma! (Broadway Theatre) and cover Babe/ensemble in The Pajama Game (The Union Theatre).

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 as it was my night off and I’d just got out of the shower to a message from my mate about the shows closing. My first reaction was one of shock. I don’t think I believed it was really happening. We didn’t hear about Mamma Mia! The Party closing until the next night and I can’t quite believe we played our last show on that Sunday for a little while without knowing. 

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

I’m trying to be as productive as possible without putting myself under too much pressure. I feel like we, as actors, can sometimes spend our lives rushing around London, cramming audition material, working on scenes for class and meeting up with people and suddenly the world has forced us to stop. So I do want to take time to be at home and enjoy being with my husband at home. However, I am reading a lot of acting books, doing the odd Instagram Live (as well as the “Leave a Light On” gig I did the other week which was the most fun) and training every day. I’m also offering out Q&A’s to students who are feeling a little overwhelmed and I’m about to record a gig for a care home which I’ll be offering out to any others who might want it for some entertainment.

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 try not to watch the news, I find it affects me negatively so I can control how much of that I see by switching it off. With regards to social media, yes, there’s also a lot of negativity on there but there’s also a lot of positivity too. There’s a huge amount of people giving up their time to help others, casting directors offering free Q&A’s, Showreel Share Day. Again, you can unfollow certain people if you so wish and choose accounts that inspire and motivate you. 

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

There seems to be new things popping up every day, live Q&A’s, gigs, NT Live, lots of artists finding ways to be creative and put their work out there. It's great that there are so many people watching so much TV at the moment too as I don’t know about anyone else but I have so much more time to watch all the amazing TV dramas on BBC and Netflix. 

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

I’ve just become a member of “Masterclass” that I’ve been eyeing up for a long time. I’m really excited to do a comedy course with Judd Apatow and an acting masterclass with Natalie Portman. I’ve also just started working through Mel Churcher’s screen acting book which is great! Make sure you check out Lambert Jackson’s “Leave A Light On” series too.

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 never played so many quizzes! I feel like I get invited to do one every night. It’s a really great way to bring friends together. I also love FaceTime and I’m not sure what we’d do without it, I have regular chats with my Mum and Dad up in Wales and try and FaceTime my mates as much as poss. 

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

I can’t wait to get back in the gym. For those that know me, they’ll know I’m a keen cross fitter and even though my gym is putting on the most amazing home workouts, it isn't the same as throwing a barbell around with friends. I’m really looking forward to getting back to work too, seeing my castmates, sharing the joys of Abba and belting out those tunes every night. However, I’m learning the importance of the present moment and ultimately I think we all need to try and be grateful for this time that. 

We'd like to thank Steph 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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