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Mental Health Awareness Spotlight #3: Emily Jane Mew

In honour of #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, Penny & Pound is shining a spotlight and sharing personal experiences from members of our talented faculty. Introducing Emily Jane Mew (She/Her), who was set to make her P&P debut as Mrs. Lovett in our July 2020 production of SWEENEY TODD. Since then, Emily has performed as Lydia in 'THE RETURN: A GHOST STORY' (2020. Cancelled due to COVID-19); The Ghost of Christmas Past in 'A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A NEW MUSICAL RADIO PLAY' (2020); and most recently, took the stage as Marmee in 'LITTLE WOMEN' (2021.) In the coming months, Emily will be portraying The Dormouse in 'CURIOUSER: A NEW MUSICAL,' and will revive her role as Mrs. Lovett in 'SWEENEY TODD,' coming July 2022.

1) TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF My name is Emily Mew. I was born in Gloucestershire, England and moved to Ontario in June 2019. I have been a part of Penny & Pound since March 2020 and I am an avid performer. 2) WHAT'S YOUR 'MENTAL HEALTH' STORY? I have anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies. 3) HOW HAVE THE ARTS BENEFFITED YOU? Without the arts, I do not know where I would be today. Not only has it benefitted my passion but my day to day life. I have been given jobs because of the skills I have learned from the arts, (e.g being able to stand and talk in front of big crowds without any hesitation.) The confidence I have gained from being apart of theatre and the arts is indescribable and it’s not only given me confidence on stage but, again, {it's given me confidence} in my day to day life. 4) HOW HAS THE CURRENT PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOU PERSONALLY? The pandemic affected me hugely in both a positive and negative way. I was always a person who had to be doing things all the time, didn’t like my own company and the pandemic changed all of that. I had to learn to enjoy my own company. It also taught me a lot about myself and really helped me understand my mental health and why I am the way I am. It also made me realize that being busy 24/7 is not healthy and I need to take time to rest and take care of myself. I also struggled a lot through the pandemic as I felt very alone. My parents are still in England along with a lot of my many close friends who I now haven’t seen for 2 years (still won’t be able to see them for a while) but that also taught me to become even more independent and made me realize that I have to take care of number one (me) before anyone else. I will forever be grateful for the pandemic because I found who I truly was, my priorities changed and I realized what I really wanted and needed in my life.

Emily Jane Mew stars as Marmee in 'LITTLE WOMEN' (2021.) Photo by Rebecca Ashcroft of Far Off Memory Photography. {IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An onstage photo taken during dress rehearsal. Emily Jane Mew as Marmee, wearing a white blouse and long dark skirt. She sits at a desk, writing. The wall behind her is blueish in colour.} 5) WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU'D KNOWN AS A YOUNG PERFORMER/ARTIST? ⁃ Most performers have the same insecurities as you, don’t be so hard on yourself. ⁃ Don’t hold back, be your true self and people will love you for it. And if they don’t then they’re not for you. ⁃ Be vulnerable. Some of the best works come from letting your vulnerable side out and learning from it. ⁃ Go in with an open mind. ⁃ Connect with everyone you can, you never know where you’ll end up. 6) WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER YOUNG PERFORMERS/ARTISTS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? ⁃ THINGS WILL GET BETTER! (I promise) ⁃ Feel everything you can, not only because it is healthy, {because} it will also aid you as a performer. ⁃ Talk to people you trust. Sometimes saying how you feel out loud is a huge relief. (When “I” is replaced by “we” even “illness” becomes “wellness”) ⁃ Do things for you, do what you love and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. ⁃ You are stronger than you think. ⁃ Make time for self care at least once a week.

Emily Jane Mew stars as Marmee in 'LITTLE WOMEN' (2021.) From L-R, also pictured: Chloe Distel as Amy March, Sydney Schott as Meg March, Ruby Frances as Beth March and Piper J. Distel as Jo March. Photo by Rebecca Ashcroft of Far Off Memory Photography. {IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An onstage photo taken during dress rehearsal. Emily Jane Mew as Marmee wears a green blouse and long dark skirt. She sits in a striped chair, with Chloe Distel, Sydney Schott and Ruby Frances on her left, and Piper J. Distel on her right. They all wear costumes of the Civil-War period. The wall behind them is a blueish colour.}


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