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Monday, 29 June 2020

The Corona Diaries: John Owen-Jones

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*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation.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

John Owen-Jones most recently played Jean Valjean in the concert production of Les Miserables at the Gielgud Theatre, a role he previously has played on Broadway, in Dubai, on tour in the UK and in the West End at the Queen's and Palace Theatres. His other credits include Burrs in The Wild Party (The Other Palace); Tiger Bay (Wales Millennium Centre); Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd (London Coliseum); The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (International Tour & Her Majesty's Theatre); Gaylord Ravenal in Showboat (Royal Albert Hall); Much Ado About Nothing & The Pirates of Penzance (Regent's Park, Open Air Theatre); A Little Night Music (National Theatre); The Merchant of Venice (Harrogate Theatre) and The Sound of Music, The Hypochondriac & Le Medecin Volant (West Yorkshire Playhouse). 

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 home - like most other people! I was surprised and annoyed it took so long to do the obvious thing especially after Broadway had already closed. The safety of the audiences and the people who work in the industry was paramount and I don’t think it was done soon enough. It wasn’t the producers’ fault though as they were being led by the government and were not given any clear guidance. I think the government badly handled the whole thing to begin with, as they seemed to want to protect the insurance companies before protecting the theatre world and all involved in it. I just hope that the huge economic and spiritual contribution that the arts bring to the UK is recognised by this government before it’s too late, and they start to help the many, many people who work in theatre who are suffering economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. Theatres will close and jobs will be lost as a result of what has happened, but we have to protect what we can and try to rebuild what is lost as soon as possible. 

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

Well, I’ll be honest here and say I haven’t really done much workwise. I did film one streaming concert from my living room with Lambert Jackson productions as part of their Leave a Light On series. I can cook, decorate, do DIY and gardening like most people but unfortunately both my parents passed away within the last two months (neither covid19 related), and this has, of course, usurped all other things in my life recently. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Momentous Musicals: Theatre Review

Having perviously played a One off night in Wimbledon last year, Momentous Musicals is back. Keeping some of the songs from last years show with lots of new additions. From classics like Andrew Lloyd Webber to new Broadway hits like Newsies, this show celebrates generations of shows that have audiences coming back. The production also showcases what British musical talent has to offer, from the extremely experienced and well respected John Owen-Jones to new graduates from Drama Schools such as Mountview and GSA. The set list for the show has been chosen very well, I loved the selections of songs because even though there was the expected like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and West Side Story there was also some surprises like a Disney Melody, SMASH, Ghost and The Wiz. 
For what the show was it was very good, when you see something like this you could expect a bit of a budget performance with poor quality orchestrations and average performers, this was the total opposite. First of all the stage looked very classic, a simple black background with a starry effect was elegant and made room for Tom Boucher (lighting designer) to really fill the stage with some fantastic colours. The lighting had a lot of great moments, it was a delightful design and he adjusted the lighting to every song which really added to the over quality of the performance. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ashleigh Gray | Interview

Graduating from Guildford School of Acting in 2003, Ashleigh made her professional debut as Kim in the UK national Tour of Taboo before making her West End debut in the London Company of WICKED at at the Apollo Victoria Theatre where she was in the ensemble and understudied Elphaba. She was soon promoted to Stand-By Elphaba the year after joining the company, she left in 2010. Her other credits include Notes from New York, Kirsty in Only You Can Save Mankind, NHS the Musical, Miss Lynch and cover Rizzo and Jan in Grease, Emily in Myths and Hymns, Simply the Music of Scott Alan, Maid Marion in Robin Hood, The Songs of Bobby Cronin, Unwritten Songs; The songs of Michael Bruce, First Things Last; The Music of Lance Horne, Miranda in Betwixt!, Diva’s Sing Scott Alan, Wicked Witch in Mother Goose, Amanda in After The Turn, Lorraine Campbell in I Dreamed a Dream, Fairy Firefly in Jack and the Beanstalk, West End Men and Supporting Susan Boyle in concert. She can also be heard on The Journey Home by Mark Evans, Surrounded By The Sounds by Tim Prottey Jones, Acoustic Overtures; The songs of Dougal Irvine, Stand Tall; A New Rock Musical, Unwritten songs; The Songs of Michael Bruce, Christmas in New York and Sentimental Heart by Oliver Tompsett. She will be featured in Momentous Musicals alongside Gareth Gates, Rachael Wooding and John Owen-Jones which starts its short UK Tour from the 17th July. 

How did you get into performing arts?

I always loved singing as a child. As far back as I can remember there's always been music around me and even though no one else in my family sang or played, I found myself singing along and creating little dance routines to songs at any given chance. So I guess I was always destined to grow up to be a performer. My family were, and continue to be, very support of my love of music and performance so they willingly allowed me to join the local amateur dramatic group and also encouraged me to follow my dreams and go to drama school. The rest, as they say, is history.

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