Friday, 2 July 2021

COMING HOME: Felipe Bejarano, just reopened in The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back! 

The West End premiere of the new musical production of ‘The Prince of Egypt’ had opened at the Dominion Theatre on the 5th February 2020, but this exciting new opening of an original show in London was soon cut short by the closure of theatres due to the pandemic back in March 2020. After a long wait, it's back and reopened its doors yesterday (1st July 2021) well over a year since it closed along with every theatre around the country 

Felipe Bejarano was featured in the ensemble of the show, as well as covering the role of Ramses before the show shut its doors at the Dominion Theatre. In the reopening of the show, he returns to his roles! Before appearing in The Prince of Egypt, he was in the groundbreaking revival production of Evita at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in the ensemble and covering Peron. His other credits include playing Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls at the Mill At Sonning, playing Sundeep and Nikos as well as covering Kyle in the UK Tour of Legally Blonde and made his West End debut in Mamma Mia at the Novello Theatre in the ensemble and covering both Sky and Pepper. 

When talking to Felipe about the industry, he offers out some advice which we think is actually incredibly useful; “It won’t be easy today, tomorrow or whenever you decide to join the industry. There’s always someone better than you at any given skill. Learn to be resilient and strong, after all, it's business and not personal. Try and have a craft outside of performing to keep you grounded and skills to help you get by when a performing opportunity hasn’t presented itself, to help you get by.” Since the pandemic hit and creatives and performers all over the world suddenly lost all of their work, we had to prove how valuable we were and all adapted, a skill us theatre people are very much used to! We couldn’t agree more with Felipe saying how important it is to have a craft outside of the industry to indulge in, not only is it great for your brain but it's also such a welcome break to do something you love when things get too much. 

Talking about adapting, Felipe has had to do just that, like most people during this pandemic. He tells us that he’s been fortunate enough to do some screen work during this time but has also experienced many a job over the past 15 months. “This past year, to make ends meet, I’ve had to be a child nanny, summer placement at sports direct, dog walker, bartender and Christmas tree seller”. A huge range of jobs and reminds us how incredible performers are at adapting and powering through this tough time. 

Felipe is very into his fitness and he tells us how the closure of gyms affected that but made him work harder to maintain it and it ended up giving him a constant focus during these tough times and also made him check in with himself. He tells us how the pandemic has made people adapt to new normals and even though it may have not been a welcome change, those changes are important for us all to remain as healthy as possible and move forward. 

Live theatre is an experience like no other. Many production companies and theatres have done so much in providing online content for people during these times which has been so inspiring to see but nothing can replace the feeling of seeing something played live in front of your eyes. Felipe puts it so well when he spoke to us about it; "There’s one thing being entertained watching something on a screen, but it’s an altogether more vivid experience being able to see something live. Live theatre gives people a much-needed escape and I look forward to being a small part of that for the many that will want to watch shows.” 

We asked Felipe what he would most like to see once theatres are back up and running and he answered with something that warmed our hearts, “Anything Disney is always magical. So Frozen!” As huge Disney buffs here at Pocket, we couldn’t agree more. 

As well as experiencing that Disney magic when shows like Frozen, Mary Poppins and The Lion King reopen, also make sure you head down to the Dominion Theatre to see The Prince of Egypt. It's a magnificent theatrical experience with one of the best ensembles in the West End. In one of the biggest theatres in the West End, it's an experience like no other! 

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