Friday, 3 July 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jack Harrison-Cooper



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!

Jack Harrison-Cooper is currently part of the original West End cast of The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre, he is in the ensemble and covers the role of Aaron. His other credits include Ensemble and cover George in The Wedding Singer (South Korea); Chistery and cover ‘Boq’ in Wicked (UK & Ireland Tour); Gremio’in Kiss Me, Kate (Théâtre Du Châtelet; Paris and Grand Théâtre; Luxembourg); Warner in Legally Blonde (Daegu Opera House; South Korea); cover Emmett in Legally Blonde (Leicester Curve) and Miss Saigon (Prince Edward 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 had headed into work as normal and we had all warmed up and completed our lift call which we did before every show, running through every lift to double-check everyone is happy and safe. I knew something was up as every department started to filter onto the stage and this only really happens when there’s big news. Our wonderful producer came on stage also and shared that we were not going to be performing that evening, or for at least a little while. I felt like it was coming anyway as Broadway had shut down only a week before, however, nothing can prepare you for having to pack up your room and travel home. A few of us went to drown our sorrows in a local bar before heading home and not knowing if or when we would ever get the change to do the show again. 

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

During previews, I completed my L3 Personal Training course and so was fully qualified going into lockdown. I have been holding three classes a week on Instagram, and also now taking on private clients as the government advice has eased up. I am also now part of the magnetic studio's team which is a group of performers and creatives who have come together to provide training and classes so that people all over the world can have access to continue their passion during this time. 

There’s so much important information and messages being spread on social media but sometimes it can be quite mentally draining and consume a lot of your time, how have you been looking after your mental state whilst using these platforms?

I've definitely had to have a few words with myself and remind myself we are all in this together. Social media can be an amazing tool, but it can also suck you into a very dark hole. Seeing a constant stream of bad news and negativity just means you feed on that. I try and seek out uplifting articles and things to make me feel good. Of course, I want to be in the loop and know what is happening, and help in any way I can, but then you also need to learn when to put the phone down and step away. 

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

Support artists in anything they are doing. Whether that is their new business ventures making masks or knitting coasters, to live classes and tutorials. We are all so creative, it's what we're good at, so please support if you can. Also donating any refunded tickets money back to the theatre is also a great way to help. 

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

I have loved catching up on a few series and books I'd not managed to get round to finishing. But anyone in the arts who hasn’t checked out Magnetic Studios yet needs to. The scope and talent of the teachers is ridiculous. Classes from acting through song, vocal technique, tap, jazz, HIIT workouts, core conditioning, ballet, you name it, it's on there: www.magnetic-studios.co.uk

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 have taken part in lots of zoom calls and quizzes. The Prince Of Egypt Cast did a quiz every week, and that meant we could also check in with each other and have a nice little catch up too. I think its safe to say I was the quiz champion, I think I won the first 4 out of 5 we did haha!

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

Getting back to work. It may sound silly but I love my job, and we had only just dipped our toe into this huge show and I can’t wait to get back and share this beautiful story with the world. We were really noticing how this story was bringing a much more diverse audience into the theatre, and so I really can’t wait to get to share again with people who may not have been to the theatre before but wanted to come and see the spectacle that is The Prince fo Egypt!

We'd like to thank Jack 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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