admin   May 18th, 2013   No Comments

About the play

For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life ? it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases.

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I have been desperate to meet Nathaniel Parker for years so I was delighted when I found out he was to be starring in ‘An Audience’ with Helen Mirren at the Gielgud theatre. I loved the play. It was a fantastic cast each giving their own portrayal of a former Prime Minister. Helen Mirren gave a fantastic performance as you would expect.

Stage door

I met Nat twice during the run and on both occasions he was very gracious and kind. Even more good looking in the flesh than on TV. My first meeting with him was very brief as he was late arriving and I was late for work so I have him my letter and told him I had a surprise for his birthday which he seemed pleasantly surprised about.

On my second visit it was his birthday so I had bought him some cakes and a card to which he was very appreciative and mentioned it in his official website blog. Nat played former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and I told him that I worked for a number of cabinet minister’s in my life including John Prescott was one was them. He told me he was a big fan of Gordon Brown. I told him how much I loved the show and how good he was at Gordon’s facial expressions. He was very happy to pose for photos with myself and my great friend @elsiepledge. There were a good number of fans there but Helen Mirren turned up in the middle of us talking to Nat so there was a sudden rush of people to get to her.


admin   May 8th, 2013   No Comments

Guess who I met last night?? The lovely Daniel Radcliffe! 8 hours of being in a queue with fans pushing in paid off. It was quite a scrum at times. Lots of fans sat outside the stage door of the Noel Coward theatre on the ground until the show started, then a security team started putting barriers up around the stage door.

They asked us to move to the other side of the pathway so we were standing against the wall of the other theatre and there we sat/stood and waited until the show ended.

Myself and friends had got there before most but you sadly often get lots of fans trying to push in and this occasion was no exception. We were able to stay together and by the time the show ended the security team asked each one of us to step forward and tell him we were excited and calm in a jokey way and let each of us one by  one to the barriers so I was at the front in the middle of a very large group of fans.

By the time Daniel came out everyone went crazy and the pressure of everyone pushing forwards onto us in the front row was really scary at times. I thought at one point that the barriers may go over.

One poor girl had to be lifted over the barrier as she started to have a panic attack. Daniel made his way round everyone. He was really sweet, patient and funny.

 

I took as many photos as I could. He signed both my programmes (Equus and TCOI) and even took a picture of me and him together using my camera. He said he getting good at taking ‘selfie’ photos. night. I told him I had loved the show and Equus when I saw it years ago. He kept saying thank you. He looked very tired and still had make up on his face.

Daniel spent as much time as he could with us and then disappeared as quickly as he has appeared. The crowds dispersed really quickly after he went and we were able to breathe again. It was a fab night.


admin   May 7th, 2012   No Comments

I have been lucky enough to see the Ice skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean so many times since the invention of Dancing on Ice in 2006, even watching them perform the Bolero live at the DOI Tour in 2009. There are so many shows, adventures, stories and stage door experiences that it’s impossible to separate them all, they just blur into one so all I will say is that is this was one of the happiest periods of my life.

    
 

Not only did I get in a minor way to be recognised by Jayne and Chris at stage door but to make friends with some amazing ladies who are still in my life today and to travel to parts of the UK I had never been before such as Nottingham (Jayne and Chris’s home town) which I absolutely love.

    
 

Life was often pretty manic over these years, the massive build up to the ticket sales release for the tour, the panic and stress of trying to puchase front row tickets for as many different shows as possible. The shows were fantastic and Jayne and Chris skating was always our highlight aswell as the chance to see the pros in action and our favourite celebrity skaters.

 
 There was always a mad dash to the stage door at the end of the show in the hope that we would get a good place at the front of the barriers to meet J&C. Staying at the Ice Apartments in Nottingham next to the arena and the Ice skating rink was always fun. Jayne and Chris are always lovely to meet, very sweet, charming and generous with their time with fans. As far we were concerned they may as well be One Direction or something, the complete hysteria when they were in sight!

My favourite memory:

DOI Tour – Birmingham 2011  There are so many amazing memories but I think this one stands out because we (my two friends and I) had Jayne and Chris to ourselves for a while. We had seen the show at Birmingham and raced to the back of the arena where J&C would arrive and exit the venue. As I remember it was quite cold and we had been waiting for quite some time but eventually we saw Jayne and Chris getting into their car with Karen Barber.

It’s always such a mad panic in that moment trying to remember if you have everything you need, your camera, items to be signed, we often had a gift to give them as well. As the car approached us it stopped and the door opened and there was Jayne and  Chris. Jayne was sitting on the nearest side to us and Chris on the other side. We all said hello and asked them if would could have a photos with them so we took it turns to sit on the edge of the car seat. When each photo was taken we asked them if we could give them a kiss and to our surprise they both happily agreed so we all gave them both a peck on the cheek.

   
 

When having our photos taken we all had to perch on the edge of the car seat and seconds after my photo was taken with them I lost my balance and fell off the seat onto the ground on which was rather embarrassing!

  
 

We chatted for a few moments, got a couple of photos signed, told them how much we loved the show and said we would see them the following day at the next show and within a few more moments they were gone. Nothing spectacular happened but in a rare event we were the only fans waiting for them. We expected others to turn up and nobody did so we had their undivided attention! A perfect end to a perfect night!

  
I have many hundreds of photos and video clips of Jayne, Chris, the pros and celebrity skaters from 2008-2012 tours/stage doors, a lot of which are posted here in my gallery. I have posted some of my favourites in this post.


admin   March 30th, 2010   No Comments

Firstly I have to say an enormous thank you to Neil Dudgeon for making this a wonderful trip and evening. In my friend Donna’s words ‘it couldn’t have been more perfect and gone so well’ – such true words. Secondly I also have to say a huge thanks to Lynn McKnight who works on the ‘Life Of Riley’ show and actually made it all possible for us to meet Neil. You’re a star!

Donna and I arrived in Glasgow mid afternoon and made our way to the hotel, luckily for us the hotel we were staying at was just across the river from the BBC so only a few minutes walk to get there.

We had previously arranged to meet Lynn in reception and for her to pass on our flowers to Neil an hour or so before the recording. Copy of P1020319

Lynn seemed really nice when she greeted us and took the flowers from me. I mentioned to her that I had written to Neil on a couple of occasions late last year and not had a reply so I wasn’t sure if he had even received them. I had already told Lynn about the ND.net website and said that I had asked Neil in my letter if he would mind the website being officially endorsed by him. I asked Lynn if Neil was likely to leave from the main exit and that we hoped to catch him after the recording. Lynn said she thought he probably would leave via the main entrance and that she would mention my letters to him when she gave him our flowers. We thought this seemed quite positive but was not prepared for what was about to happen.

About 10 minutes after Lynn had collected the flowers from us Donna said OMG Neil’s coming down the stairs with Lynn!! I tried to compose myself and hide my excitement which I did reasonably well I thought. Neil greeted me with a smile and said ‘hello’ and I said ‘Hi’. He said ‘thank you for the lovely flowers’ and ‘So you’ve come all the way from London to see me’ and I said ‘yes’. I told Neil that I had written to him a couple of times before and not heard back from him and he said ‘yeah Lynn said you’d written a number of times’. He did say that it sometimes takes his agency a while to pass then onto him. I said ‘well the reason I wrote to you is because I have created a website to support your career and he said ‘yeah so I hear’ and I said I was wondering how you would feel about it being officially endorsed by you’ he said ‘YEAH SURE’!!! He was unbelievable sweet and incredibly easy to talk to. He asked what the website address was and said’ Do you want me to log and say Yay to it’ and I said I did if he wouldn’t mind. I remembered that I had written him another letter with some suggestions of things for the site should he say yes to the endorsement of it and the URL was in the letter.

He asked me to write my postal address on the envelope and said he had some stuff he could send me for the site so I sat at the table writing my address which gave Donna the opportunity to chat to him about the weather etc. I gave him my letter and told him about the number of visitors we had to the site and all the wonderful feedback we’d had from fans. He was really funny and was saying ‘stop it stop it – no carry on’!!! lol He was beaming at me and I was beaming back at him it was quite funny to watch

I then asked if we could have some photos and we posed for them (see below). He has a very firm grip especially on my arm (I’m not complaining he was lovely to cuddle). Infact we had quite a number of photos taken each with Neil and then a few with all 3 of us together. I think we had him to ourselves for at least 10-15 mins which was so surreal I had envisaged a horrible rush and scramble to catch him when he left after the recording and as this was the last recording of the series it was a ‘one chance situation’.

Soon after it was time for him to go he told us he hoped we would enjoy the show and said he would check out the site and get in touch.

As he was leaving he held my hands and plucked up the guts to smile and say ‘gimme a kiss!!’ he smiled and kissed both cheeks he said’ We’ll say goodbye the continental way’ and kissed Donna too. And then he was gone. Donna and I sat in shock for a while until Lynn came back down to set up for the audience arrival to see the recording. She said ‘did that make your day?’ I rushed over to her and gave her a hug and said ‘it’s made my life’

The recording itself was fabulous, there was a cute warm up guy Stuart Goldsmith and watching Neil in between takes was fascinating and great to watch. Each scene was recorded twice so the whole recording took about 2 and a half hours. We had front row seats and had a fantastic view. The best bits are the mistakes the actors made forgetting their lines and there were a few of those. The evening went too quickly and before long it was time to leave. Donna and walked back to our hotel grinning like Cheshire cats. It’s been a week and a half since that night and I’m still on cloud nine.


admin   September 16th, 2007   No Comments

As I work 5 minutes from The Duke of Yorks theatre it has been easy for me to attempt to meet Orlando Bloom. I think at the beginning I was thinking I would be lucky to get anywhere near him little did I know I would be lucky enough to meet him 14 times over the play’s 3 month run.

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In Celebration is about three brothers – Andrew, Colin and Steven – who return home to the northern roots of their childhood for a family reunion. Although they have returned to celebrate, the explosive complexities of family life and long-held grievances are unlikely to improve the chances of a decent party. It was Compelling and emotionally thrilling, it’s an exploration of family love and of how the consequences of best intentions can threaten to destroy treasured hopes and dreams. ob6 (2)

If I try and write every detail of all 14 visits it will take forever so I thought I would give you a summary and highlights.

Firstly Orlando was wonderful if the play. I had never seen him in the theatre before and was interested to know how good he would be. Watching someone you like perform live is a funny thing. You are used to seeing them on the TV or at the cinema on a screen but for them to literally be right in front of you for 2 and a half hours is quite something.ob6

I had front row tickets and although I was looking upwards at the stage I could still had a fantastic view.

Throughout the whole run Orlando came out to greet fans after every performance and signed for as many people as he could. He spent a lot of time with the fans knowing that a lot had come from other countries to see him and the play. After the first week his security team seemed to have an organised system going.  We got know the security quite well over this few months and I remember one of them telling me he was the nicest celebrity he had ever worked for.

Lowlights

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 Being trampled on by fans during my first visit. I spent 10 hours waiting for Orlando and when he finally came out there was such a crush of fans trying to get to him I was pushed out of the way and trodden on. End up going home with nothing but very bruised body!

 

After the last performance Orlando came out to greet fans as he usually did. Unfortunately an idiot driving by threw a bottle at him and it smashed not far from him. His security bungled him to his waiting taxi and that was that. His safety came first of course I felt for all those who had been waiting patiently for hours on end.

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After the day I was trampled on I went back to the theatre during my lunch break and gave a letter to a member of staff at the stage door for Orlando. I was pretty certain at that I wouldn’t get to meet him so I sent him an SAE with an ‘In Celebration’ flyer and a letter telling him what had happened the night before. I honestly did not expect anything back so when I did 3 days later I couldn’t believe my luck. I got this amazing personally signed flyer from Orlando and 3 kisses!!!

Towards the end of the run I bought Orlando a book on Buddhism which I had given him the week before. I know he is a Buddhist so I thought it was a nice thank you for all his efforts. When he moved along the line of fans towards me I asked

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him if you had like the book. He bent down a bit and out his hand on my arm to hear me again as he didn’t catch what I had said. I asked him had received and liked the book I had bought him on Buddhism and he said ‘yeah thank you’.

 

He asked me if I practiced Buddhism and I said ‘yes I do’ (even though I don’t) it was the first thing that came into my head! He was then ushered along with the wave of fans and his security.

Highlights

Getting to see Orlando’s dog Sidi up close. Sidi often came to the theatre with Orlando. I got a couple of photos of him leaving the theatre for a walk with Orlando’s mother Sonia..

Making some lovely new friends waiting at the stage door including Rosie being one who was able to build a beautiful little bond with Orlando during those months.

The sheer number of amazing close up photos I was able to take was around the 350 mark. I was very lucky that other than the first time I failed to meet Orlando I managed to get up close to him every time. I managed to get a good number of signed flyers and theatre programmes for fans who couldn’t get to see the show.

All photos are my own.

To view the other video clips click here and here

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