19 March 2021

Theatre worker committed to funerals job after pandemic forced career switch

19 March 2021

A stage manager who swapped the theatre for funeral work says has “really surprised myself with how passionate I have become about it all”.

Jordan Lever, 33, from London, took a six-week job with Co-op Funeralcare when the production he was working on was halted by the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Since then, he has gone full-time as a member of the funeral service crew, and said he is “completely happy” with his new career.

Jordan Lever, 33, from London made the move from theatre work to funeral work during the pandemic

“Two or three years ago I was having a think of what career I would do if I didn’t do theatre,” Mr Lever told the PA news agency.

“One of the things that came to my mind back then was funerals.

“Within theatre you generally get a crack at it again the next day, but you still want to make sure it’s perfect for that day and that time.

“With funerals it’s exactly the same premise. You have to give your all and every detail has to be correct to make it perfect.”

While the two jobs might not appear compatible at first glance, Mr Lever said they both demand similar skills.

“Building and preparing a coffin, that’s something I’d never done, but it’s similar to doing carpentry within building on a set,” he said.

“Again, dressing someone. We dress people within theatre productions and we dress people here. Some people would never think about dressing someone else, but that’s something I’ve been doing for the past 10 years.

“We do their hair, their make-up, we dress them. We prepare their coffins, and on the day of the funeral we could be limousine drivers, we could be bearing the coffin.

“Basically we do a bit of everything up until the day of the funeral.”

Despite the demands of a career change during a pandemic, Mr Lever said that leaving behind the unsociable hours of the theatre has allowed him to enjoy his downtime once more.

Jordan Lever with his partner Lewis

“This year has taught me how much I’ve missed having a life,” he said.

“For the past year I’ve been able to have dinner with my partner, to have weekends where we can go and have a day out.”

Mr Lever is about to relocate with his partner to Cornwall, where he will continue working for Co-op Funeralcare, the UK’s leading funeral provider which operates over 900 funeral homes.

“I’ve really surprised myself with how passionate I have become about it all,” he said. “I genuinely do love the job, that sense of going in every day and you feel like you are doing good.

“When we are on a funeral, family members are sad but they’ll always take the time to come and say thank you.

“I actively would encourage anybody to come and look into funeral care. It is very rewarding.”

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