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Jake Quickenden forced to miss performance of Hair after panic attack

Jake Quickenden as Berger, centre, in the touring production of Hair. Photo: Johan Persson
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Actor Jake Quickenden was forced to miss a recent performance of the musical Hair after suffering a panic attack.

The performer revealed on social media that he had been “suffering really bad anxiety” over preceding days and added that he had experienced a panic attack during a matinee at Cardiff New Theatre on April 20.

He is the latest in a string of high-profile actors to speak out about anxiety, including Helen McCrory, who revealed she suffered a panic attack during The Deep Blue Sea at the National Theatre.

“I’ve never had one and I honestly didn’t know what was happening. I felt like I was dying and it all got a bit much,” Quickenden said, adding that his voice was sore and tired.

He said the anxiety had got the better of him and he had to miss the evening show.

“I am always in a chirpy mood and pride myself on being mentally strong, but honestly, now I realise this can happen to anyone and it’s not weakness at all. It takes a strong person to accept it and move on and deal with it. I just wanted to say it doesn’t matter who you are or what your personality is like, it can affect anyone,” he wrote on Twitter.

Stephanie Cole has previously spoken about the impact anxiety can have on performers’ careers.

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre runs a free helpline to provide mental health and well-being support for theatre professionals. The number for the Theatre Helpline is 0800 915 4617, and the email address is advice@theatrehelpline.org.

More information about mental health support is available via ArtsMinds, a joint initiative between Equity, The Stage, the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and Spotlight.

Stephanie Cole seeks more help for actors suffering stage fright

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