Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jessica Joslin



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!

Jessica Joslin is currently in the ensemble of the West End production of Les Miserables where she is also 1st Cover for Fantine. Her other credits include Ensemble and cover Mrs Phelps in Matilda (Cambridge Theatre); Janelle Woods and Dance Captain in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (West End/UK and Ireland tour); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Quays Theatre); The Dreaming (NYMT, Rose Theatre); The Wizard of Oz and Oliver! (New Vic Theatre) and Matt Lucas & Friends (Vaudeville).

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 principal ladies’ dressing room at the Sondheim Theatre, when we were told that the show wouldn’t be going ahead. I was going to be making my debut as Fantine that evening. Although I was gutted not to perform the show, I knew the right decision had been made. It was a sad evening for the theatre industry.

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

I’m trying to keep busy and productive, without putting too much pressure on myself. I’m enjoying lots of reading, daily yoga and singing practise. A group of my castmates from Les Misérables take part in weekly workouts together - I’ve been leading a couple of yoga sessions which has been something new and enjoyable. I’ve also been exercising old sewing skills and discovered embroidery which is a lovely mindful task.

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 important to take control over who you follow and who you choose to interact with on social media platforms. I’m putting my phone down when I can and I’ve found joy in spending time with my family, escaping into a book or listening to music. That said, I’ve found it good to see social media being used in a positive way to connect and offer support at this time.

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

It is so important to support the Arts right now. There are a number of productions and concerts that have been made available online and are being shown on YouTube and on TV. Many are available at a small cost or are free with the option of making a donation to support the Arts or related charities. I loved the Sondheim 90th birthday celebration and Jason Robert Brown’s virtual concert, and I’m particularly excited about some of the productions that the National Theatre are streaming - Fleabag, Antony and Cleopatra Frankenstein.

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

I’ve often got a book on the go - Mama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black, is a book I’ve been raving about most recently. I watched Unorthodox on Netflix in one sitting. Normal People is beautiful. My brother’s rewatching Lost with me and I am hooked. I’d also recommend the High Low, How to Fail and the Happy Place podcasts.

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’m isolating with my family in Cheshire and feel very grateful to have them around. I’m also hugely grateful for WhatsApp group chats with friends, and for Zoom, which is my new go-to. It’s been perfect for catch-ups and the several quizzes that I’ve done.

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

Hugging my friends! I’m looking forward to returning to London, returning to Les Misérables and to my family of friends in the city.

We'd like to thank Jessica 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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