Top 10 Memorable Moments of 2018
✨ LUCY EATON
As we get deeper and deeper into January, it becomes less and less acceptable to talk about 2018.
But talk about 2018 I shall!
It was a tremendous year for us, packed to the brim with immense amounts of hard work. So in celebration of every drop of blood, every sweat patch and every full on hysterical tear-fest, I’ve compiled the top 10 memorable moments of our 2018, in which we rebranded and relaunched our beautiful little business.
1. Tea Tragedy
Let’s delve in at the deep end, or rather at the high end. Our launch day back in July was exceptional and truly unforgettable for us. It was a heady brew of anxiety, excitement, total efficiency and a splash of vertigo. However, if I had to pick the most memorable moment it would be this: 5 minutes before the press enter the suite and the show begins, a photographer from the Guardian has been invited in to take pictures of Mel, Freddie and I. One play we are about to perform will take place in a bedroom, on a bed, and the breakfast tray prop (complete with full tea pot and cups) is in position. Seems like a good photo opportunity, so the photographer asks us to sit on the edge of the bed. She says “sit”, my brain says “jump”. I take a flying leap onto the bed, propelling the breakfast tray into the air and sending hot tea soaring in all directions before coming to rest in an impressive splat pattern on the bed spread. If I remember correctly, I was so nervous that I couldn’t really comprehend the insanity or embarrassment of what I’d done. I reacted with an unusual level of coolness, saying something like simply “oh dear”, as our incredible team began rushing around like ants to try and dry up the mess. What a -
2. A Hopeful Beginning
Talking of incredible team, being pitched to by Munch PR is certainly one of my most memorable moments of 2018. As Mel and I sat in their beautiful meeting room, demolishing their plate of brownies, we gazed at our own images on their projection screen. Their PowerPoint presentation outlining how they wanted to pitch our brand and what steps we should take looked AMAZING! We looked so great we could hardly believe it was us. The service looked a million dollars but absolutely captured our essence of fun and of spit-and-sawdust (as Freddie put it) and we knew they were the people for us.
3. Open Door Celebration Night
We get invited to a lot of wonderful events thanks to our company, but Mel and I had a truly memorable evening in 2018 thanks to Open Door. Brain-child of actor David Mumeni, Open Door is a charity that aims to give working class actors as good a chance as any to get into a great drama school and train at their craft. For those selected, the charity covers the cost of 5 auditions and provides mentor ship and direction on their speeches. We were invited to the Celebration Night at Pleasance Theatre, which gave the class of 2018 a chance to show off their hard work. I remember sitting down with the program and a pen in my hand, ready to mark down any of the actors that were particularly outstanding. About a quarter of the way through the show I had put a small tick next to every name. “Ah, I get it now!” I remember thinking, “they’re all going to be exceptional...!” As theatre makers, it was such an inspiring and exciting evening, seeing this unforgettable talent emerging.
4. Idol Finale
From the sublime to the ridiculous: in May, Freddie and I attended the American Idol finale! We were VIPs (friends in high places) and on the first night we found ourselves being walked to our seats with Caitlin Jenner... It was a real “pinch me” moment. Not necessarily because CJ is my idol (although big respect for the awareness she has brought to transgender issues) but mainly because she is categorically one of the last people on EARTH I ever thought I would share oxygen with. Standing next to Sir Ian Mckellen at a press night party, sure that happens! Exchanging numbers with Orlando Bloom to send him a hilarious meme, believable! But walking into a TV studio behind a member of the Kardashian family... well, it’s ticked off the bucket list now.
5. Canine Upstaging
In late Spring we performed in a mansion-like home in West London, and halfway through the show the host’s enormous dogs walked straight up onto the set. Members of the audience were leaping up in panic and trying to coax the pooches back in hushed tones, but we just started scratching their noses and tickling their tums. They became a perfect part of the blissful Cowardian setting we were trying to create!
6. Magical Audience Reaction
Our performance of The Voice of the Turtle at the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard (as part of our Theatre in the Clouds series there) was a real highlight of the year. We began these shows in September and they’ve all been great successes and enormous fun, but this one had an air of magic that surpassed the others. We were in the smaller Westminster Suite - perhaps that was the special ingredient - so the audience were with us from the first line. There were no nerves or suspicion; they just embraced the intimacy of our theatre from the get-go. They cackled with laughter and gasped at the cruelty. To round it all off, they gave a standing ovation at the end, and we all agreed it was a very very special night. If you'd like to book a ticket to one of our January/February shows, there are a few left here.
7. Dining Like Royalty
From one hotel to another, after performing for the Bulgari Hotel one evening, they laid on the most indulgent and exquisite dinner for us. Six cast members all took their places around a magnificent round table in their luxury Italian restaurant. The head chef came out to say hello, our waiter Luca was to die for and they even created an entire separate menu for our gluten and dairy intolerant friend and cast member Greer. If you want to read more about this particular night, check out Greer’s guest post, which takes you behind the scenes.
8. Breaking The Furniture (and our futures...)
But to have the highs, you’ve got to have the lows. And one of those came in launch season. We were doing a special performance for a Telegraph journalist in his own home and whilst moving a few furniture pieces to create the set, one of the wheels on his coffee table suddenly fell off. Our collective hearts stopped. We could just see the headlines: “Luxury theatre company charges for the privilege of trashing your home!” Just as Mel and I were peeling Freddie off the ground, our host walked in and revealed that “oh sorry! I should have warned you. That breaks all the time.” We all needed a serious change of underwear. To read the full article about that performance, click here.
9. Live TV Lessons
Being briefed for our first ever live TV interview was an experience I will never forget. Thankfully. Because the tips were really helpful! In a very short amount of time, on the day before we appeared on Sky News, we were drilled and drilled on likely questions (“Why does it cost so much?”), group dynamic (if one of us interrupts, drop your point whether finished or not and just let them) and general bad habits (keep your hands on your lap, keep your hands on your lap). The end result was that the interview went swimmingly and our whole team were overjoyed with how we handled ourselves, but if you watch it back you’ll audibly hear me say “oh my god” at the beginning and watch out for the subdued hysteria in the stare I give Mel and Freddie at the end, just before the cameras go off.
10. A Classic Corpse
We work with remarkable actors and directors, professionals who are at the top of their game (you have to be to work in such close conditions, when the audience are only feet away!) but... we’re only human. And 2018 was responsible for one of the largest scale corpses we have ever known. Whilst performing for a cultural evening at a school in Surrey, actor Henry Gilbert accidentally said “fore-live” instead of “forty”. An easy mistake to make and not - in and of itself - a particularly amusing slip of the tongue. But like all good corpses, this minor error had cataclysmic effects. Over the next 30 seconds, almost every actor on stage broke down into fits of giggles, and thankfully so did the audience, as they very observed on theatrical chaos in action. Luckily we managed to pull ourselves together without too much ado and the show went on.
There's so much we're looking forward to in 2019: continuing to build on the exciting partnerships we've begun in London, furthering some of our international relationships and looking back to our parent company Go People to start planning our next public production. Watch this space and happy new year!