Olivier Awards 2014
Always eager to spread a little love to the cultured masses, this time last week I set off for London to attend the ever illustrious Olivier Awards 2014. I’ve been trying to get a theatre column on Geek Pride up off the ground for months now, and what better way to kick it off, than by recognising some of the finest talent the UK arts scene has to offer.
Brought to us by the lovely people over at Mastercard, the Olivier Awards returned for yet another dazzling year, to venerate and commend the finest contributions across drama, musical theatre, production, dance and opera, right in the cultural hub of London; the Royal Opera House. It’s the sort of place you kind of really need to experience at least once, because there’s just something so fundamentally enamouring about it. (One for the bucket list, I think!) and I’m not just saying that because I got to walk the red carpet.
I actually really don’t like that part. My partner in crime came along with me, and she adored it. Thrived in the glare of paparazzi camera, while I was ready to just hoik up my dress in one hand and run inside. I think it’s one of the few things nobody gives enough credit to celebrities for, because it’s absolutely terrifying out there! So naturally, my hat goes off to all of the beautifully prim and proper chaps and ladies that did survive the onslaught of interviews, fans and blinding camera work.
Still, my blinding terror aside, it did put me in a particularly good position to require the free champagne on offer at the welcome reception! These theatre goers definitely know their stuff when it comes to helping to set the tone and make people relax, although I’m fairly certain at this point any form of stiff drink would’ve been greatly appreciated! Having arrived early, it gave me a good 45 minutes to breathe, mingle and regain some semblance of composure before we headed into the theatre to find our seats and get ready for the ceremony.
Now, I hadn’t actually anticipated this at all, but we actually had little goodie bags on the seats, complete with chocolate, tissues and water, to get us through the three hour ceremony! I thought this was both highly useful and adorable, so my utmost thanks go to the sponsors for providing us with such a handy gift (that means I’m looking at you Hildon Mineral Water, Divine Chocolate, & American Airlines.) Excitement aside from having been presented with chocolate, down went the lights and on went the ceremony!
Presented this year by Steven Mangan and Gemma Arterton, it was a really enjoyable experience from start to finish, full of jokes, heartwarming speeches and performances from a plethora of West End talent, including a few highly memorable numbers from the current cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Book of Mormon, a showstopping performance by American legend Bernadette Peters, alongside an appearance from ABBA stars Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus.
My personal favourites from the long line of winners included The Book of Mormon which took home the Best New Musical award, and Zrinka Cvitešić’s victory as Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Once at the Phoenix theatre. It also wouldn’t be a proper roundup of my favourites if I didn’t give Rory Kinnear a shoutout for his Best Actor win in Othello, having beaten out stiff competition from Tom Hiddleston, Jude Law and Henry Goodman!
I honestly couldn’t have predicted some of the wins, but I do have to say every single winner and nominee deserved their name in lights, for being some of the most inspirational, talented and humble people I have ever had the luxury of sharing a room with. It really did open my eyes to a grander scale of what the modern theatre has to offer, and I think that’s important to help make sure this art form continues to grow and thrive in much the same way the film industry does.
The ceremony was over before I knew it, and while I did feel a little saddened by this, the after party soon took the edge off! While the statue wielding winners went out into the world to enjoy a proper after party and celebrate their success, I was more taken with watching the dancing upstairs in the amphitheatre bar and eyeing up the pick n’ mix, that I really would not have ever expected at such a posh soiree. Kudos, awards organisers, your taste is impeccable!
Partying away until the early hours, with our free gifted programmes in hand, off we eloped back to the hotel for some much needed rest, only to discover there was a second after party there too, complete with cocktails and canapés. And like any true trooper of the arts, we had to go and partake in that too (which was rather nice, because Bernadette Peters and Ruth Wilson were in attendance, and both of them are quite frankly my idols, so hopefully some of the talent will have rubbed off by being in such close proximity!)
But that was it, as the clock rolled around to three, reality set in, and the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards were over for yet another year. I really do have to say it’s one of the most entertaining nights I’ve had in a very long time, and I definitely look forward to seeing what the UK theatre can offer us between now and next year!
For more information on the awards, and for the complete list of winners, check out the Olivier Awards website here.