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Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jack Maple

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!

*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation. Please keep that in mind when reading* 

Jack Maple started producing at the age of 20, becoming one of the West End’s youngest ever producers. His work includes European premiere of Max Vernon’s The View UpStairs at Soho Theatre and the celebrated revival of Kander & Ebb’s The Rink at Southwark Playhouse which won five Off-West End Awards including Best Musical Production, the European premiere of Stephen Schwartz & Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Working (Southwark Playhouse), the Olivier Award-winning revival of Show Boat (New London Theatre), The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (Southwark Playhouse). In 2018, Jack founded Take Two Theatricals Ltd, an international concert and production company, with his producing partner Brian Zeilinger. Together, with Club11 London, producing a series of concerts, including the UK premiere of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Caissie Levy, Tony Award-winners Kelli O’Hara and Stephanie J Block along with Sierra Boggess. 

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? 

For me, it really started the week prior. When I’m not producing independently, I work as part of the General Management team on Bat Out Of Hell The Musical. Our company, who’d been rehearsing since the beginning of March were due to fly to the US to start the international tour on the 18th March. Suddenly that all came crashing down. In the space of 24 hours, the Governor of New Jersey, where we due to open, had closed all performance venues and the President had announced a travel ban to the US. The tour is on hold for now, but due to start back up again here in the UK in September. 

When the announcement came out from SOLT, I was in the office dealing with agents, airlines and everything in between to try and wrap up the show for the time being. Initially, there was a sense of confusion. The Government hadn’t actively instructed theatres to shut down, merely advised against attending them, which presented a legal minefield for producers and insurers alike. Then the uncertainty hit. I’m a freelancer and with no shows that means no income. It was the right decision, no doubt, but the consequences across the industry are going to be felt for some time to come. 
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