Incredible. Amazing. Overwhelming. Fun. Ridiculous. Surreal. I could use any one or all of these words to describe my experience of the Olivier Awards.
Courtesy of MasterCard, me and my housemate Callum were lucky enough to attend the award ceremony at The Royal Opera House on Sunday 3 April. Words can’t describe how excited I was. I absolutely love theatre and I’ve always wanted to attend an award ceremony like this – if I could sing and act then this is exactly where I would want to be. I thought I could only ever dream of attending yet here I was, walking down the red carpet! I get goosebumps just thinking about it. 150m, a lot of bad selfies, a few nice snaps and a run in with a celeb or two later we got to the top of the red carpet and the entrance to the ROH. It was a whirlwind 10 minutes of ‘fame’.
Inside we were directed to the gold lift that took us up to the champagne reception sponsored by Laurent-Perrier. This was my first time in the ROH and it was beautiful. We collected a programme and made our way outside to see the views of Covent Garden (one of my favourite places in London). I’ve always looked up to the balcony wondering what it was like to stand up there and now I finally had the chance to see for myself.
At 18:15 we were seated and ready for the ceremony to start and it gets better. We were in a box! Another thing I can tick off the bucket list. My excitement was just too much. Sitting on our seats was a small gift bag full of goodies from chocolate to Fortnum and Mason’s fruit pips – what a treat. We watched as the nominees, presenters and others took their seats in the stalls. Judi Dench was sitting near the stage in an aisle seat, Shirley Bassie a few rows behind, Matthew Bourne, Imelda Staunton, Gemma Arterton, Cyndi Lauper, Matt Henry, the list goes on. It was such a privilege to be there with so much talent in the room (and outside for those who couldn’t join the evening).
Michael Ball as a presenter was fantastic. Humorous with all of his ‘costume changes’ and jokes but also an amazing performer and speaker. And the performances throughout the night were outstanding! We must have seen previews of at least 8 musicals and plays – Kinky Boots, In the Heights, Phantom of the Opera, Gypsy, Chorus Line, Bugsy Malone, Guys and Dolls and so much more. It was like we had gone to watch a medley musical, just fantastic.
And then the awards themselves. It was so lovely to see so many people win different awards for their hard work and exceptional talent, I think my hands were a little sore after the 3 hours of clapping and cheering. Some of my favourite awards and speeches of the night had to be;
Drew McOnie for Best Theatre Choreographer not only because he worked on In The Heights, which I saw on broadway 8 years ago and loved, but because I love dance and their performance made me want to get up out of my seat and do just that. Turns out he is a choreographer at The Old Vic which we have connections with at PwC – definitely going to look more into that!
Judi Dench for Best Actress in a Supporting Role because she’s an amazing lady, Matt Henry for Best Actor in a Musical – his speech was moving, The Phantom of the Opera for Audience Award as I fell in love with the film when I was younger and have always had it on my list of must see musicals plus their performance was brilliant, Kenneth Cranham for Best Actor as he’s fantastic and his speech was heart felt. The list could go on for days so I will stop there but every nominee and winner was deserving for their work and it was just a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of their special evening.
SO, with all awards and performances finished it was time for the after party! There was wine, beer, bowl food, Fortnum and Mason truffles, a photo booth, a dance floor fit for a queen and a DJ. What more could you want? Due to the nature of the event the night couldn’t pass without a few good old fashioned dance-offs, I was right in my element. It was fantastic to see so many people having a great time, it felt like we were a part of the inner circle. Sadly, it all had to come to a close but of course the night couldn’t end without a few wardrobe malfunctions (not mine thankfully) and a seriously funny snapchat story.
An incredible experience that I will always remember. I have learned one thing about myself from this evening – I wasn’t wrong when I said I want to be in the entertainment industry growing up. That’s exactly where I want to be. Watch this space.