Friday, 13 November 2020

Outside the Spotlight: Barbican flair with Jed Berry | Captured by Liz

Outside the Spotlight is brought to you by Captured by Liz in partnership with Pocket Size Theatre, this series of articles is sponsored by Pointe & Flex, a stylish and motivational stationery brand created for dancers, dance teachers and everything in between! From diaries to notebooks, pens to pencils, planners to action lists, Pointe & Flex are here to make sure you stay on top of everything so you can thrive in your industry. Click here to find out more

A quiet concrete oasis in the middle of the capital. Things have been busy for Jed, but a trip to the Barbican Centre helps to clear the mind and just breathe. “I love being in London. I moved back home for a while because I gave up my place here when I went on tour, but I recently got back for the show, and I’ve really missed it”, he says as we wander around the Centre trying not to get lost. When lockdown and the closure of theatres was announced, Jed was on tour around the UK with The Book of Mormon, which only started in June last year. Jed recently performed in Fanny and Stella at the Garden Theatre, Eagle London, a new open air venue in the specially renovated garden of The Eagle. In fact, Jed has been trying to keep busy all through lockdown working on an online cabaret with Kinky Boots Angels and Lola’s from all over the world and Jerry Mitchell, choreographer of Kinky Boots. The cabaret aired in July and raised money for Acting For Others, Broadway Cares Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Black Ticket Project and Broadway Advocacy Coalition. 

Kinky Boots has been quite a big part of Jed’s life. “I remember when I first saw the show. It had just opened and I just sat there and thought ‘wow, I have to be in it!’ It was just one of those shows.” In 2017 Jed joined the show as one of the Angels. He booked the job while he was still at college training at Guildford School of Acting. “It was so crazy when I found out. You could’ve asked everyone I trained with and they all would’ve said 'Jed wants to be in Kinky Boots’, so having that as my first job out of college…”. Jed stayed with the show until it unfortunately had to close in the West End, but as we all know, it was filmed for cinema screening and it available on Broadway HD to watch. Jed actually tells me he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay for his second year at first, but was glad he did in the end, being part of the filmed shows and closing this show in London as well. 

“There’s been so much great online content from all around the world”. We agree that being able to watch shows from home and supporting theatres that way was great, but also how much we enjoyed seeing socially distanced productions and live theatre again. It has been great to see the creativity and adaptability of everyone putting on performances in this time. “This time made me realise how much I love performing. We’re such a resourceful industry and we will always try and just make things work.”. 

The Book of Mormon tour is currently scheduled to resume in March, but it all depends on the developments and lockdown rules until then. “I’m hopefully going to Asia to teach for a bit, there are just some formalities that need to be approved. I travelled across the country for a bit last year after Kinky Boots closed, so it’ll be nice to go back and spend some more time there and explore some more.” In a way, this time has been a blessing in disguise. It’s been scary, it’s been frustrating, but it has also been good to develop new things, focus on personal projects. 

“The industry will bounce back. People need the arts, they need to smile. They need the escapism.” The fact that shows that have been put on in outdoor venues, or online shows, or just anything that was announced to happen over this time was really popular, tickets sold fast and audiences were very excited to get back to live theatre. It may take a bit longer to get things back up and running, but we agree that they will. The show will go on.

This article has been written by and photographed by Captured by Liz, published through Pocket Size Theatre. The article has been sponsored by Pointe & Flex Stationery

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