Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jade Marvin


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!

Jade Marvin was most recently playing Catherine of Aragon in SIX for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Her other credits include Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens(Union Theatre); Bad Girls The Musical (Upstairs At The Gatehouse) and Mythic (Charing Cross 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 in the middle of the sea actually! We’d just done our debut performances of Six on the NCL Bliss on the Friday and Saturday so we’d had a wicked weekend of celebrating, but we’d been told that cruising had been suspended so we wouldn’t be sailing with guests the next week. So we were all just relaxing, just trying to stay positive for what that meant for us at sea, and I think somebody saw an article on their phone and we all just sat there together so gutted. We knew that it was coming because of Broadway closing (and Broadway SIX not getting to have their official opening) but as West End is home so it was just so heartbreaking. I was especially upset because one of my best friends was 2 days away from making his West End debut in Tina: The Musical and it felt like that excitement of a debut was totally demolished by this horrible virus.

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

I have actually taken up rollerskating, which is a lot harder than it looks! My friend whose currently in Starlight Express has been sending me a few basic starter videos to try and help me learn but honestly, I’m just trying to stay upright for long enough. It’s really fun though and gets me out of the house doing exercise. I’ve also committed to doing Insanity workouts and I’m currently in week 5 so over halfway through the programme! It’s so hard but there is a group of us that are accountability partners which is a nice social aspect and helps with motivation. There are so many amazing fitness classes out there though, there is literally something for everyone. I’ve done Bobby’s bakery, LockdownLiveLondon and Barrys At Home all which I highly recommend. There is also thousands of dance classes, yoga and meditation (Check out @musicaltheatreyogi - Jessica Parkinson) which are mostly free as well so it gives you a chance to try out lots of different styles of teachers and trainers and keep up your skills/learn new ones. 

I love that performers and trainers are giving their time for free to help people throughout this lockdown! I’ve definitely connected with a few people that I might’ve never heard of without this time so that’s a positive! 

In regards to the show, I’ve just been going over the show material and making sure I’m remembering all the harmonies correctly! I’m having my first singing lesson over Zoom next week so that’s exciting too. 

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 so hard to digest this pandemic. Only 8 weeks ago I was living on a beautiful ship, having the time of my life with some of the best girls I’ve ever met. It’s hard because on social media everyone has their opinion and there’s a lot of 'facts' flying around that aren't true which brings anxiety and distress. I’ve definitely tried to limit the amount of time I spend scrolling aimlessly. It’s not useful and it's sometimes detrimental to my mood.  

I have better and worse days. Sometimes I’m super positive and proactive throughout the day and sometimes I lounge around feeling lost, watching Netflix desperate to go back to work. There has to be a balance but realising that this pandemic is a crazy mood for everyone, nobody knows how to navigate it perfectly and we’re all in the same boat really helps.  Having a little bit of structure throughout the day helps too. It means that the days don’t all roll into one and I kind of have something to focus on. I think going from being really busy to nothing is really hard once the novelty of ‘relaxing’ has worn off.

Thankfully I’ve got a good team of amazing personalities around me and we’re grateful for the technology which means we’re constantly in communication. I’m also really lucky that I’m in lockdown with my boyfriend so each night we cook good food together and play Mario Kart. I need all the practice I can get - I’m awful! 

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

There are so many concerts and shows being put out online that are relatively cheap and there is a wealth of free theatre being showcased by major houses such as the National and Old Vic. I think if you can donate to support the arts through buying a ticket to a concert or donating to watch something online for free that would be lush, but also not everyone is in that fortunate position so just staying in touch with the theatre world, being involved by taking in the incredible performances is a great way to show how much we love the theatre. Maybe when we start going back to work then you can buy a ticket to see something. 

There’s lots of different fundraising going on. Acting for Others is an incredible umbrella branch charity to donate to (I just bought one of their The Show Must Go On t-shirts!) and also Funds For Freelancers has helped so many of my friends. I think just support your favourite artists, let them know how excited you are to see them back on stage because I reckon that probably means more to them than taking your money! 

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

I’ve been trying to get more into reading. I enjoy it but I find I rarely have time. Always open to suggestions but some books that have been recommended to me are The Untethered Soul - Michael A. Singer, Good Vibes, Good Life - Vex King & Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies - Scarlett Curtis. 

I’m watching Hollywood on Netflix and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never seen Killing Eve so I’m going to start that, but I’m so behind on that so I bet you’ve already seen it. We’ve also watched the whole Marvel series, which was incredible. I’d never seen End Game so I was blown away.  Oh, and invest in a good gin glass!

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

Zoom has been such a wicked platform throughout this lockdown. We’ve had zoom quizzes nearly every week within my different groups of friends, and actually it’s been really fun because I’ve had old cast zooms as well. Seeing everyone back together might not have necessarily happened without this lockdown so that’s so lovely! There’s a lot of creativity within the quizzes too, people have been pasting peoples heads onto famous bodies, making guess the song tracks that are slowed down or fast-forwarded. I guess we’ve got the time now to make them really good!

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

I’m looking forward to getting back to work! Hopefully the near future includes me, back with the girls living our best lives on the ship performing the wonderful show that is SIX but of course we have to wait for safety precautions to be laid out. I’m excited to be able to see my friends and family and give them a hug rather than a wave on FaceTime. I am looking forward for everyone to stop being stressed out by money situations because they can’t work etc and for us all to find a happy positive future in this ’new normal’. 

We'd like to thank Jade 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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