Jessica Bailey ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jessica Bailey is a London based playwright, director and facilitator. Originally trained in acting, musical theatre and performance, as well as playing the piano from a young age, she grew up with many multi-disciplinary influences that she, emboldened by the restrictions of lockdown, has been able to implement and experiment within her practice. Her work often derives from a theme of social justice and ‘issue theatre’ - putting big issues in small spaces and confronting audiences with simple truths and dark humour. She often gains inspiration from the classics and forgotten figures in history with a feminist bent: and she always references an ‘ism’ of any kind in the frame of her plays. Another theme she revisits often is mental health. Her most recent credit is writer and originator of a short film she collaborated with the Albany and Foreign Body Films titled ‘It May Never Happen’ - a monologue about her experiences growing up with OCD set against a totally silent video filled with visual triggers to put the audience in the place of an OCD sufferer, with original material taken from her personal diary of the time. She gained upper second class honours at the University of Westminster in English Literature and Creative Writing, and previous work has been read/performed at the National Theatre Studio, Spotlight Studios and Vault Festivals 18/20. In 2019 she was shortlisted to be a writer in residence with Pentabus Theatre company. ABOUT THE PIECE: Jessica Bailey’s piece for Pandemic in The City revolves around the strong desire to be reunited with loved ones outside our personal bubble: and how that can be monetised. Imagine a way to stay present at big family events and celebrate milestones without leaving your bubble - enter AI eye contacts that you pop in just before Nana’s 80th birthday and just wholesomely and easily enjoy the day, cut the cake, whip out, pack off and send to loved ones who missed out. Simple! Right? On the surface, this piece is a traditional three hander with inter-dispersed power play and plot, but the action will be interrupted with tech, pre-filmed elements and visual disruptions much like the tech itself that will infiltrate the lives of the characters in the piece. Using multi-media and immersive tech elements, and this could vary from isolated sound in individual earphones, projection behind the actors to live cameras relay filming the scenes from different angles to add to the ‘candid camera’ effect, I want to use anything that serves the story in order to portray a modern allegory on just how a second virus is affecting our homes as technology advances. Under the surface however, it’s also a treatise on how human nature will do what it does best - misuse. What if this wholesome family advancement captures a crime, infidelity, leads to bribery? My three characters will have to deal with the aftermath of a great secret revealed in the face of undeniable proof. With headlines hitting us all the time about data harvesting, and background recording our every move, its time to confront the second strain of this virus, and its time to question - is it the equipment, or is it how we use it? Instagram: @bailsitall Production photography by Tasha Best.