Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Irvine Iqbal


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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

Irvine Iqbal was most recently seen playing Raj in The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Company. His other credits include Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Sultan in Aladdin – The Musical (Prince Edward Theatre); Branded (Criterion Theatre); Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre); World of Walliams (Harper Collins Publisher Ltd); Mr Stink (UK tour); Wuthering Heights (Lyric Hammersmith); Then Like My Dreams(Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Good Woman of Setzuan (Leicester Haymarket); The Mahabharata (Old Vic Theatre); The Far Pavilions (Shaftesbury Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors (Jersey Opera House); Jallebies and Tea(Chichester Festival Theatre); Tree of Life, Kala Sangam (Brodsworth Hall); The Emperor and the Nightingale, Layla Majnun (MAC Theatre, Birmingham); Bombay Dreams (Victoria Apollo Theatre); Blood Drive (Bridewell Theatre); One Voice (Royal Opera House); Mother Courage, Guys and Dolls (Grange Arts Theatre); and Bouncers (Pants Theatre company).

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 with my partner and baby. Shocked and bewildered it was actually happening! 

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

I’ve been doing lots of voice over work and recording a few songs at home. I managed to set up a small home studio for £200. I’ve become addicted to learning about recording and mixing. Behind the scenes, I’ve also been clearing the house and organising!

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 think it’s really important we support one another during this times especially now that everyone is out of work. For me, it never surprises me how resilient people are in this industry! I’ve seen so much support from our profession with charities and different shows singing on behalf of charities. At the same time, we should always be able to express our views objectively and respectfully. 

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

I think donating to your local theatre is a good start. Even £1 or whatever you can an afford. We need to ensure continuity during these pandemic times.

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

I’m a big fan the Ozarks which is on Netflix. I’ve also been watching a lot of cooking YouTube videos to try and improve my game.

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

Yes, lots of Zoom and FaceTiming however I have to says I’ve enjoyed the silence around the house too. 

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

Obviously, getting back on stage and just being around people in a creative process. (Also miss some of the Dressing Room banter too!)

We'd like to thank Irvine and all 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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