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    March 22, 2010
  • Exclusive back stage report from Laurence Olivier Awards

    Sparkling chandeliers, starry backdrops and sizzling stars – it could only mean one thing. The 34th Laurence Olivier Awards, writes Benjamin Potter

    Exclusive back stage report from Laurence Olivier Awards
    Benjamin Potter bumps into Keira Knightley - Images courtesy of Official London Theatre

    The prestigious awards celebrate the very best in theatre, musical theatre, opera and dance performance and famous faces old and new turned out in force to celebrate the event and present or collect an award.

    As usual I was running late and although I thought I had left enough time to make my way from Bond Street to Grosvenor House Hotel, where the awards were being handed out, I hadn't forecasted for my train to be delayed. As I stepped off my tube I quickly ran down towards the hotel as not to miss the cut-off for press.

    As I entered the grand venue I straight away bumped in to Keira Knightley, who had been nominated for her debut west end performance in The Misanthrope, and she was looking gorgeous as always.

    As we stepped in to the Great Room, bagpipes filled the air with their drone and beautiful highland melody- strange I know, but atmospheric all the same.

    The ambience in the room was buzzing, old friends of the stage were kissing and hugging and as I made my way to the balcony, looking over the room, I spotted the huge band set to play all the musical intros for tonight's ceremony.

    We hurried in to the press area and took up our stations. We were very lucky throughout the ceremony as The Drama Student Magazine is a publication stars and winners are very happy to talk to, as most of them were a student once at a drama school!

    TDS Top Ten Awards of the evening

    Best Theatre Choreographer presented by Arlene Philips and Ben Richards went to Stephen Mear for Hello Dolly! At the Regents Park Open Air Theatre.  A truly phenomenal production that deserved this recognition and Stephen Mear's second Olivier!, his first was for Mary Poppins. We caught up with him to find out about his career…

    So Stephen, what do you think a drama student should have under their belt in terms of dance for the industry?

    I think a drama student should have the basic ballet, no one likes saying ballet because they think it's too technical, but you should have basic technique and not have a fear of dance just enjoy it- think of a character when you're dancing.

    Have you always wanted to choreograph Hello Dolly?

    I love the show and it was fabulous acting, singing and dancing and a great challenge for the company to do. I will definitely go back to the Regents Park.

    Top Tip for the aspiring actor?

    Keep trying never give in, if you're not passionate you'll never make it.

    The Outstanding Achievement in Dance presented by Adam Cooper went to Rambert Dance Company for an outstanding year of new work.

    Mark Baldwin was over-whelmed by the win: “Passion, belief in yourself and being able to kiss everybody are the things you need to join Rambert.”

    On winning the award: “This award is the big one for us, we do get several awards but this is amazing. It's tradition Rambert is eighty years old and Madame Rambert and Laurence probably hung out together.”

    Former Spice girl Mel C has received rave reviews this year for her starring role in Blood Brothers and she entertained the audience at the ceremony with a performance of ‘Easy Terms' from the musical.

    Best Actress presented by Tim McInnerny went to Rachel Weisz for A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar.

    And to finish off the first half before the stars sat down for their fare, the cast of Sister Act at the Palladium wowed the crowds with ‘Raise Your Voice' and Sister Act has definitely raised the bar this year.

    As we prepared for the second round an award was presented for one of the greatest plays this year, which made it's home at the Novello. Directed by Debbie Allen, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof won the Best Revival presented by Jonathan Pryce.


    Younger actors showed their faces in winning awards in the shape of Iwan Rheon for Spring Awakening (Best Supporting Role in a Musical) and also for Spring Awakening was Aneurin Barnard for Best Actor in a Musical.

    Iwan Rheon told The Drama Student: “Nothing really prepares you for winning an award, my agent said I should prepare a speech but I didn't really think about. It's amazing.”

    Hello Dolly! At the Open Air Theatre picked up another two awards as well as Stephen Mear's choreography triumph, Samantha Spiro won Best Actress in a Musical and the show won Best Musical Revival presented by Jill Halfpenny and Legally Blonde's Duncan James.

    Best Director presented by Jude Law went to Rupert Goold for Enron at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noel Coward.

    And finally Spring Awakening picked up another award for Best New Musical this year.

    So what do we take away from this year's ceremony? The economy may be down but theatre has been thriving and by the looks of it there are many surprises to come this year. Coronation Street The Musical might even be on the cards.

    By Benjamin Potter

Comments

2 Responses to “Exclusive back stage report from Laurence Olivier Awards”

  • Katie
    says:

    Some fantastic reporting! Looking forward to the next piece!

  • Marion Brown
    says:

    This piece is just fabby! it’s so nice to see somebody who writes this personally, I feel like I am pratically there! (And I would be if I wasn’t wheelchair bound!) But hey ho, looks like it was a great night Benjamin and I can’t wait to see your next piece!

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