Saturday, 30 August 2014

Interview with leading theatre blogger, West End Wilma

So you have launched the WILMA AWARDS and they’ll be taking place in November. Are you excited?

I'm so excited! I hope it's going to be a lot of fun and so far there has been a lot of support for it which is great!

What made you create your own awards?

For a couple of years now people have been telling me I should do the Wilma Awards. I was approached by a producer who wanted to back me on it but I didn't think the time was quite right back then. I feel in a position now to be able to do it and do it properly. I would hate to do it half heartedly (what's the point?)

Looking at the list of categories I think you’ve narrowed them down to a a hand full of really good categories! What made you decide on those?

When I first started thinking about the awards my categories were completely different! I didn't want more than ten awards and so narrowing down the final ten was really difficult. I decided to combine the categories of 'Best Front of House Team', 'Best Theatre Bar' and 'Best Venue' into simply 'Most Welcoming Theatre' which I think works much more nicely. 

I really wanted to put my own little spin on the award categories, having a mix of what you would expect and something a bit different too!

Do you have a particular category you are most excited for?

I love the idea of 'Most Underrated Show'. The idea of recognising shows that didn't do so well excites me.

What can we expect from the Wilma Awards that is going to be different from the other Theatre Awards? 

I'm delighted that The Full English have agreed to supply afternoon tea for guests at the ceremony. I interview a lot of performers whilst having tea with them and so the ceremony will feel like one big 'Tea With Wilma' experience! Also, the awards are being sponsored by and held at Freedom Bar Soho which is great because it's a bit more casual than having a big sit-down ceremony somewhere.

Can we expect anything special from the Awards Night?

It's on a Friday afternoon and so I'm hoping those that are currently in shows will still be able to make it along before they go to work. I have a couple of live performances lined up for the event but these are top secret!

You’re famous for your theatre etiquette! But what annoys you MOST when going to the theatre?

I think having other people there in general is the most annoying thing! If I was the only one in the theatre then everyone would behave! I thought about that last night when I went to see Wicked and a girl sat in front of me had thoughtfully decided to put her hair up into a huge bun on the top of her head (so I felt like I was watching most of the show through a haystack)! I did the sums in my head about how much it would cost me to buy every ticket in the theatre but it was a scary amount and not in my OAP price range!

You’ve interviewed some really great people, do you have a favourite interview you’ve done?

Leslie Jordan (from Will and Grace) did his stand up show at the Leicester Square Theatre a while ago and he was delightful. He had so many inspirational stories to tell and I could have sat there all day. Most interviews are all about the person you are interviewing but he really took time to try to get to know me which was very sweet.

It's a shame you didn't ask who the worst person is that I've interviewed! That's a juicy story!

Whats you’re 3 top shows you’ve seen and the 3 worst shows you’ve seen?

Well my favourite was always Chicago. I loved the simplicity of the set and the boys in tights were always an added bonus (I always tried to sit front row!) Being the un loyal thespian I am, as soon as it closed in the west end I jumped straight over and adopted Wicked as my favourite. There are so many layers to that story that I never get tired of seeing it! Also, a couple of years ago, The Kings Head had the Tennessee Williams play Vieux Carre which was glorious to watch and has stuck with me in my mind. It transferred to the Charing Cross Theatre which was great and I'd love to see it back again.

I've refused to review shows on a couple of occasions because they were so bad. I remember seeing Dear World at the Charing Cross Theatre. I tried to write the review but it was full of things like 'I found myself staring at the floor so I didn't have to look at the atrocity unfolding on stage' and 'I wanted to stick my knitting needles in my eyes' and so I decided it not to publish it! Also Dorothy In Oz at the Waterloo East Theatre was interesting! Let's just say it didn't compare to The Wizard of Oz or Wicked! 

The Wilma Awards will take place on Friday afternoon, 7th November 2014. Public voting will open on 1 October 2014 and run for two weeks at

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