Friday, 13 August 2021

COMING HOME: Marvyn Charles, about to feature in Bring it On at the Southbank Centre & on Tour

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! 

Bring it On the Musical has yet to be seen on a big scale in the UK, a touring production was announced in 2017 but this was cancelled. A fringe production by the British Youth Theatre Academy premiered at the Southwark Playhouse in 2018 with a new UK Tour being announced in early 2020. With rehearsals beginning in April of 2020, this was quickly postponed because of the pandemic and now it has been announced to open in November with a Christmas run in London before a UK Tour. 

Marvyn Charles was part of the original 2020 cast announcement and has been confirmed to rejoin the company for the rescheduled tour - a long time coming for Charles! His other credits include Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a show he recently returned to cover in, Milkshake Live!, Smurfs Live on Stage, In the Night Garden, Dora the Explorer, Thriller Live on tour and in the West End and on our televisions in the X factor. 

Waiting for rehearsals to begin has been a lengthy period of time for Marvyn, so you can see how excited he is to finally be starting that process in a few months. Chatting to him about what he’s been doing over the pandemic he tells us, at first, it was just about utilising the time and filling it with computer games, Zoom quizzes and finally, some online teaching. “Teaching has been something I've always enjoyed over the years. But as these workshops were few and far between, towards the end of last year I got a job as an Argos delivery driver, which gave me purpose to get up and out of the house. I'm now doing this alongside teaching, working out and seeing friends so that I keep my mind busy and healthy with positive things to do until I start rehearsal in October!” 

Talking to Marvyn, he tells us he certainly is not the same person he was when all of this began. He has been through things, like everyone has, over this time but what he has learnt is that he has an inner strength that he wasn’t sure was there before. “It still has its moments to come and go, but I feel a lot stronger and more positive in myself as a person and my beliefs that I want to stick up for.” Something that we think, going forward, everyone should have the same faith in themselves for their own principles and quality of living. 

Moving on to talk about the industry and his fellow performers, he tells us that something he has been telling himself and his students is to “allow yourself time”, with auditions starting to happen again and things slowly getting back to some sort of normality it's important to give yourself that time and space as these situations could be daunting or overwhelming after all this time. “It's ok to feel those feelings and to go wrong and not be on it straight away, but people understand this so allow yourself the space to breathe and get back into it. Take this time now to figure out what it is YOU need to do to get yourself ready for the ups and downs that are going to come again.” 

Over the pandemic, a lot of issues within the industry have come to the surface and people have finally felt like they could openly discuss them, Marvin said “I truly hope it makes the positive impact it needs on our industry and it starts to thrive once again after this long period of time. Theatre can be so beautiful and enlightening and all people want is to see someone on the stage they can aspire to be.” Audiences deserve and have the right to see themselves represented on our stages and in our media. With further government cuts to the arts, it's our duty to make people feel visible. “Going forward, across the board there needs to be a bigger effort to take the time to cast shows so that diversity is apparent and seen. I know time is money, but representation is important and people want and need to be visible, and not just in their ethnically stereotypical shows or roles, so the time needs to be taken to make this happen.” 

Chatting to Marvyn he tells us one show he can’t wait to get to is Hairspray, it being one of his favourite shows it couldn’t be a more perfect one to see after theatres being closed for this time. “To sit there watching a show I love after not being able to watch any live theatre for such a long time, I can already feel the tingling and joy thinking about!” 

Bring it On opens at the New Theatre in Peterborough on the 26th November 2021 with a Christmas run at the Southbank Centre in London from the 8th December 2021 to the 22nd January 2022 before heading out on a full UK tour. Coming to a theatre near you, this is definitely one to catch!

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