Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Cameron Bernard Jones

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Cameron Bernard Jones was most recently seen in the London company of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical in the ensemble and understudy Ike Turner at the Aldwych Theatre. His other credits include ensemble in Motown the Musical (Shaftsbury Theatre); Jupiter in Out of this World (Ye Olde Rose & Crown); Gilbert in Hairspray (Austria); Charlie in Showboat (Austria) and Papa in Tamar of the River (NY Theatre Barn, Oratorio World Premiere). 

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 had just finished my contract with ​Tina: The Tina Turner Musical​ on Saturday 14th March so that Monday was the beginning of my first week off between jobs. I was at home relaxing when I found out. Before actual lockdown, my husband’s job had sent all their employees to work from home indefinitely so he was also home with me when SOLT’s closure of London theatres was announced. Because I had recently heard of Broadway’s closure as well as the closure of other European productions in Holland and Germany, I thought that it was just a matter of time for the West End to follow suit. I know for a lot of folks it was such a shock so I really felt for them but I also felt that it was a good thing because I know folks were already highly concerned (and some paranoid) about the virus spreading rapidly in theatres. Definitely a double-edged sword type of situation that jolted us all.

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

As soon as the theatres closed my NYC hustle mentality kicked in. I thought to myself ‘what can I do to both get some sort of income and also help other actors and performers keep artistically active during these trying times?’ I decided that with the new popularity of online video conferencing I could start teaching and coaching American accents online. I had only done it previously in the setting of a show (​Motown the Musical)​ so I never had it as my own business with my own private clients before. I threw myself out there and it was received very well! I managed to grow a decent-size client base and I couldn’t be happier. Now that I am fully in the groove of it all I realise that I have a knack for teaching. I absolutely love doing it!

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?

It’s all about balance for me. I really try to not take in so much news; just give me the essentials to keep me informed and then I keep it moving. A friend of mine introduced me to Yoga With Adriene on YouTube; best thing to ever happen during these times. I started consistently doing yoga through that and have never turned back. In addition to that I started regularly meditating through the Balance app. It is challenging but so enjoyable. 

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

Support is not only limited to ticket sales. Donate to the many theatres, arts organisations collectives who work very hard for us and on behalf of us. They rely on the financial support from patrons and donors. Where you cannot offer financial support you can offer mental and emotional support; that’s free. If you have artist friends who have independent business ventures, lend them your eyes, ears and time; it’s so valuable no matter the amount. I would also say that when Arts industries return, and assure safe ways to consume what they have to offer, please enjoy them fully. Fill those seats, galleries and spaces. Aside from the obvious financial boost the industry will desperately need, we who are a part of the industry will need the energy and moral support from our lovely audience members and spectators.

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

I can’t stress enough — if you’re looking to get into yoga and have had doubts or are just scared to try it, definitely start out with Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I can honestly say that it has changed my outlook on life and has helped me mentally and emotionally during this trying time. Also, I am a big fan of everything culinary and confectionery and so I am always looking for a new recipe and a new skill to use in the kitchen. I highly recommend checking out Samin Nosrat’s book and Netflix mini-series ​Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat​. It enlightened me to the simplicities of food and has completely changed how I cook and bake.

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

Ah, the power of technology! I have friends and family on both sides of the Atlantic so it has been quite the feat of time coordination with online chats. It means I am often up very late chatting with folks back in NYC, but I love it! Of course Zoom has been in full use as well as the Houseparty app and FaceTime, but sometimes a good old-fashioned phone call really does the trick. I love trivia so Quiz Nights have been such a fun addition to my routine; I have participated in one every week so far and am looking forward to more — might even host one soon!

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

Gosh I am really looking forward to (bottomless) brunch! That may seem silly to some but brunch encompasses SO much, socially. The camaraderie (or the kiki as I like to say), the food, the drinks, the fellowship, the fun! Brunch lets you escape from whatever you’ve got going on in life and lets you be around people you love and cherish, even if just for a couple of hours. It’s the state of togetherness that I miss the most so getting to be in a space with a group of my family and friends over a veggie breakfast and prosecco can't come soon enough.

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

For more information please visit GOV.UK and

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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