A day in the life of a luxury launch...
Updated: Aug 26, 2018
✨ LUCY EATON
We made it! This time last week the final touches were being put to a launch event that has been in the planning for 3 months, and for a business that has been in the making for 3 years! So what does a day in the life of a Luxury Launch Event look like? Hold my hand and come with me.
7:30 | Alarm
I honestly felt like it was Christmas morning. This has been such a long time coming and we're so tremendously proud of what we've got. But embarking on this big-scale launch has been a huge financial risk and we've had to abandon everything else in our lives to make it work. The sense of anticipation was unbearable! That being said, we knew that the setting at the Shangri-La hotel was sheer perfection, and the idea of performing there before downing a glass or 3 of Veuve was beyond exciting.
8:00 | Jog
I needed to get rid of some of the jitters, so I tried to sweat them out... That's a thing right?
9:00 | Breakfast and emails
A quick breakfast guzzled down whilst responding to anything that had come up over night.
10:00 | Journey to Freddie's
Over the last few years the Go People costume store has moved around a number of places. Currently the majority of our costumes and props from previous shows are kept in my parent's house in Oxfordshire. There's plenty of room, so we store everything on and in a number of costume rails and boxes nestled between my cardboard cutout of Justin Timberlake and my hammock of soft toys. It's a bit like the land that adult-Lucy forgot, invaded by Go People and Revels in Hand. However, the entire wardrobe necessary for our launch was currently being stored in Freddie's flat on Putney Hill. It's a surprisingly heavy and bulky amount of material, so I had been summoned to help him load up and travel to the Shard together.
11:00 | Conference Call with the PR team
Time for a final run down of the day. I arrived at Freddie's just after the call came through and we both very quickly found that being on a conference call on two different phones but in the same room is literally Satan's work: we hid ourselves away in separate parts of the flat and pretended the other didn't exist until the call was over! Here might be a good time to say, our PR team are the mutt's nuts. From day 1 they have aimed for the heavens with Revels in Hand, and we have completely landed on our feet with them. Today was no different.
11:40 | Telephone interview
One particular journo wanted his article out snappy in the morning, so I jumped on the phone with him to ensure he had most of the information he needed ahead of the evening's performance. I'm still finding the interview side of this launch a bit unnerving. It's not that I don't like speaking (I really really like speaking...) but it's a strange thing to embark on a conversation when you know that there are certain things you need to achieve from it. I love a good chat, but an interview for a launch can't be just that. It's like how I only clocked recently that the customs and immigration people in US airports aren't just expressing a genuine interest in my holiday, and now I feel guilty walking up to them even though I haven't done anything wrong... "They're so nice and chatty", I used to think as I walked away, but I don't enjoy those immigration chats as much any more.
12:15 | Drive to the Shard
It was a hot day. (Anybody else notice that there've been some hot days recently?)
As we walked out to the car Freddie said over his shoulder, "Now I don't want you getting in the car and saying how hot it is. It's going to be hot. The seats are leather. We don't need to comment on it." We opened the doors, clambered in, turned to each other and immediately and simultaneously commented on how hot it was. If there's ever a day where you want to be locked away at the top of an air-conditioned sky scraper, this was it.
The car journey was spent talking through logistics and then running lines. One of the pieces we were doing that evening is almost entirely a duologue acted by me and Freddie, so the car journey provided us with ample time for a quick rehearsal.
13:15 | Arrival at Shangri-La, The Shard
We left our car with the valet and the costumes with reception (ready to be taken up to the Shangri-La suite), then dashed out for the quickest of lunches. In reality, that wild dash was filled with more phone calls and emails, so the sandwich that I grabbed didn't actually get eaten for another 3 hours.
13:30 | Actors arrived
We greeted our fabulous cast for the evening in the beautiful TĪNG Lounge on the 35th floor of the Shard, trying desperately to concentrate on the matters in hand rather than checking out the view or salivating over the incredible afternoon teas (macarons are my kryptonite*). We explained to the team (Greer Dale-Foulkes, Henry Gilbert and Mark Donald) what the plan for the day was and did a line run of both plays.
15:00 | Room set-up
The Shangri-La suite was now available for our use, so Mel, Freddie and I headed up to the 39th floor to oversee all the heavy lifting. Our costumes were hanging neatly in the walk-in wardrobe and our fabulous contact for the Shangri-La was there to keep everything moving; there were staff to help us shift sofas and mechanics to dismantle light fittings. We basically tore the place apart and rebuilt it for our own purposes!
15:45 | Rehearsal
The actors were brought up and shown around. Everyone was excited to see the space and check out the views. We tried to drag Henry away from the powerful telescope in the corner of the room, but it was a struggle!
Then it was time to rehearse.
This is always when our ship must be at its most tightly-run. The time for rehearsing in the space is minimal; for any Revels booking we usually only have an hour or 2 max to actually tech in the space. Today ran smoothly though. Everyone was in high spirits and we got through both plays with ease.
17:45 | Break
A short breather for our actors before they had to get ready for the show, but unfortunately no such thing for us. The Veuve Cliquot trolly was being wheeled in, and our team from Munch had just arrived and wanted to update us. There was one obligatory "last minute drop-out" but other than that our list of attendees was still as we hoped. T-minus 45 mins and counting until they arrived.
18:00 | Photo shoot
A photographer from the Guardian wanted to get some posed snaps of Mel, Freddie and I. Half-in costume and half-out we gathered in various beautifully lit corners of the suite. Mel was almost entirely dolled up like a 1920s goddess, Freddie looked completely normal and I was in a dress that made me look like an Austrian beer wench. I prefer not to think about how those photos turned out.
To be honest, this whole section of the day was a complete blur and it was probably when we were all at our most delirious. Freddie kept insisting that he'd forgotten how to smile, Mel was convinced that she smelt bad when she literally smelt of fresh ocean breeze and I lost all control and decided to do a running leap on to the bed at one point, causing a prop breakfast tray of hot drinks and pastries to be flung into the air, spilling camomile tea all over the bedsheets.
Everyone was very understanding. I can't thank them enough.
18:30 | Guests arrived
As the media began to arrive, we were finally closed off in our wing of the suite. The "dressing room" for our cast consisted of a corridor, a walk-in wardrobe and a bathroom at the far end of the suite, which may sound a little cramped, but let me disabuse you. This is the signature Shangri-La suite at the Shangri-La hotel. Nothing is small.
Shirts were ironed, costumes were donned and makeup was applied.
19:00 | Show-time
The shows themselves went like a dream. The sunset over Westminster was our backdrop, and our audience were vocal in their appreciation from the beginning.
We often find that within small audiences, people are more reticent to make noise. It doesn't mean they aren't enjoying it - and as the old adage goes: "you can't hear a smile" - but it does mean you have to be prepared, as an actor, not to get that aural response. These guys were amazing though! Guffawing away from the very start. The nerves very quickly slipped away and we eased into the enjoyment of performing.
21:00 | Mingling with the journalists
We threw our glad rags on as soon as the show was finished and headed out to speak to those media who had stuck around. I was handed an ice-cold glass of champagne and felt all the anxiety and jitters of the day subside. It's always a joy to chat to our audience after the show and today was just as joyful as any.
22:00 | Dinner
As the door closed on the final media attendee and a trolley of hamburgers arrived from room service, we all breathed a final sigh of relief. It was time to bid adieu to our incredible team, and as a reward for all our hard work, we were able to enjoy the Shangri-La suite to ourselves for the rest of the evening. Mel, Freddie and I sat around the dining table with our much-loved actors and our incredible photographer, Tomas Turpie, and we all raised a glass to the day. My head was pounding and I was practically passing out with exhaustion, but before closing up for the night, I suggested that we switch off every light in the suite to walk around and appreciate the almost-360 view of London at night... from 39 floors up in the Shard.
"Onwards and upwards". I wonder how many floors higher Revels will go.