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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

COMING HOME: Jay Perry, soon to return to his roles in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace 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! 

You may know him as a West End superstar, but here at Pocket, we remember Jay Perry from the absolute legendary pop group, S Club Juniors! Jay was a part of the group as a child but has gone on to have a wonderful career in theatre. Before the theatres shut he had been in the London production of the smash-hit Broadway musical Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre.  

Jay is a stand by in Hamilton, covering the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He made his debut performance in the production at the beginning of 2020 and unfortunately didn’t have a long run until theatres all over the country closed their doors. Talking to Jay about what he is looking forward to when getting back to the West End, he says “I'm excited for the connection I get between being on stage performing and the audience receiving the performance, I love that buzz and the twinkle in the eye that you catch. The service we offer people is really magical.” 

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Jay Perry

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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*

Jay Perry is currently in the London production of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace. His other credits include Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me, Kate (The Watermill Theatre); Berry Gordy in the final London cast of Motown: The Musical (Shaftesbury); Drifter in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre); Duane in Hairspray (Gordan Craig Theatre); understudy and played Curtis in Save The Last Dance For Me (UK tour); Marlow in She Stoops to Conquer (London Contemporary); Sword and The Dope (King's Head) and Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych 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 was at the Victoria Palace Theatre that evening, due to play Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton that night. I was so shocked I really didn’t think that shows would be closed even though Broadway had closed the previous week, I just didn’t see it coming. 

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

I have been using this time to train as a mentor and have joined Creative Mentor Network, I'm loving helping my mentee explore and grow within the creative sector. Its been a great use of my free time.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

FEATURE: When understudies save the day!

Understudies are a vital part of what keeps shows all across the world going every night. Over the past few years, we've had stories all over the press about understudies taking on lead roles in extreme circumstances and absolutely smashing it. Here are just a few of the recent stories we love (All with happy endings!), we'd like to thank these performers for not only being amazing but also taking the time to chat to us briefly for this article. And make sure to check out the bottom of the page with a breakdown of the past understudies who are astounding audiences all across the UK every night! 

Jennifer Caldwell 

When sickness hits a cast, sometimes dramatic solutions have to happen! Knights of the Rose, a new musical running at the Arts Theatre, had a wave of sickness in the cast and when an understudy is already covering someone else, whats happens?! Jennifer Caldwell was working in the Box Office and was asked for help from the Producer, she agreed to go on at 7pm and by 7.30pm was on stage! 

"When the producer asked if I could possibly step up and perform in the show I was, I think it's safe to say, apprehensive, however, adrenaline and excitement took over pretty quickly. 

The company I had around me are some of the most talented people you could ever meet which could have made things pretty daunting, but, everyone was incredibly supportive and made it so easy to slot in to the show. I couldn't wish for a better group of people to be around."

She has now been made a permanent member of the cast and features as a swing. 

"I think, as performers, we should always be willing to accept any challenge as, in such an unpredictable industry, you never know if this kind of opportunity could arise again."

Steph Parry

Steph recently finished playing Donna in Mamma Mia on the Royal Caribbean before landing the role of the standby for Dorothy Black and Maggie Jones in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She was called upon when Mamma Mia (at the Novello Theatre) needed someone to step in mid show for the lead role, Donna, when the understudy suffered a serious injury. 

"It was such a surreal night, there was a moment just before I stepped out onstage where I thought “what the hell am I about to do?!” But I walked out to such a huge cheer from the audience that I instantly knew they were behind me and it felt so awesome!" 

She completed the show to great acclaim and was promoted from stand by to lead as Dorothy Black in 42nd Street.
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