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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rubbing Elbows with the Rich and Famous

London's theatreland has its own set of awards, formerly known as the Society of West End Theatre, or SWET Awards. (Has a certain ring, doesn't it?) It is unusual in that members of the public make up part of the judging panels. Oh for THAT boon at the Emmies!

I think I may have mentioned before that in 1984, I managed to become a member of the opera panel. In the Awards Evening porgramme we are listed as:

Jack Lambert CBE
Roy Plomley OBE
The Rt Hon Kenneth Robinson D. Litt
and members of the theatre-going public
Dr John Grimshaw
Valerie Weber
Don't they all sound grand? Except me, of course.
Can't remember why Jack Lambert was an expert member of the panel. Kenneth Robinson was an MP and one-time Chair of the Arts Council. Roy Plomley was the creator and presenter of Desert Island Discs on the radio. He was very knowledgable about music and had a huge record collection.
Roy Plomley

There was a dance panel which included the retired Prima Ballerina Beryl Grey, pictured below in her heyday.

And then on the theatre panel we had Melvyn Bragg, well-known adenoidal broadcaster (he's since had them out) who decided to get his new musical into the awards process for the current year, and so resigned from the panel very near the end, after getting to know all the judges, and getting hundreds of pounds' worth of free seats. (His hair doesn't look a bit unnatural, does it?) Melvyn's musical was "The Hired Man". Don't remember it? You're in good company.

Partway through the year Lord Olivier agreed to let them name the awards after him so we now have the much prettier-sounding Olivier Awards. His Lordship was too frail to speak at the awards evening, but his wife, actress Joan Plowright, spoke on his behalf.

Nominees that year who have since gone on to better things include:

Zoe Wanamaker; Glenda Jackson; Vanessa Redgrave; Juliet Stevenson; and Ian McKellen.

Apart from the opera winners, I have no idea who won what. I rubbed shoulders with all sorts of people, but the main thing was that I got to see every new opera production in London for free for one year, and including the awards dinner the prices added up to nearly £1000. In 1984!

It would be enough to pay off my mortgage now.


Lozzie Cap said...

Wow, that really is something special to put on your CV. I remember when I worked on Follies in the West End we were always 'gagging for a Larry' but I jave no recollection of ever winning one!

All those celebs on your panel - they were in good company ;)

judith said...

how interesting and fun to have done that. would you like to do it again and put vincent's name forward for every award!!!

SnarkAngel said...

Val, maybe you should just create your own special awards ceremony ... call it "The Vincents." For various categories of acting ... or sexual prowess ... or both ... hee.

JoJo said...

I like Snarkangel's idea!!!!

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