‘westendwilma.com is the mother/son blogging venture that has been taking over London’s theatre scene for the last five years, interviewing stars of the stage and reviewing all the latest productions’. This year’s West End Wilma awards take place on Friday 3 November, 2pm at London’s Delfont Room (Prince of Wales Theatre). I was lucky enough to interview West End Wilma about the awards:
How did you first set up your West End Wilma awards?
I was lucky enough to win the Ticketmaster Blog of the Year award in 2014 which was a huge honour and it made me realise how nice it is to be recognised by other people for the hard work you do. So I decided to put on my own Wilma Awards and it all went from there!
Which award was the hardest for you and your panel to decide upon?
The ‘Best Off-West End Show’ category was actually the hardest one to decide on. There were so many amazing shows on in the last 12 months that it was a tough decision. To decide I literally had to get my reviewing team to take a vote and the show’s that got the most votes are the ones that are up!
If you could add another category, what would it be?
I’ve changed the categories up a bit every year since it started. I’m really happy I do a Best Understudy category now as I think that is very important to recognise. I’d love to be able to spend a whole month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year and introduce a Best Edinburgh Fringe Show category!
Sum up your awards in 5 words:
Duncan MacMillan (writer of People, Places and Things) called it “more fun than the Olivier’s… and you can drink!” which I thought was a great summary (you can’t take drinks in to the auditorium at the Olivier’s) and so I’ll use his words and say ‘more fun than the Olivier’s’!
I love that you have awards for best understudy and Off-West End show. Do you think more awards ceremonies should do this?
I think that understudies especially need more recognition in the world of theatre. It is vital that people are recognised for the work they do. And I don’t understand why more award shows can’t cover both West End and Off West End shows. Some of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen have been above a pub!
I also think it’s great that you have a Achievement In Creating Accessible Theatre Award, why did you decide to introduce this this year?
The theatre going public (myself included) love to complain about good behaviour at the theatre and are very quick to judge people who don’t sit still and stay quiet during the performance. And with the price of tickets these day I don’t blame them for wanting to enjoy the show in peace. However, I think it is equally important that if we are going to demand certain behaviours then we also need to ensure that people with disabilities that may mean they can’t sit still for a long period of time or keep quiet, have the same opportunities to see the same shows everyone else does. That is why I do a lot of fundraising to support the production of Relaxed Theatre Performances and I wanted to be able to recognise companies that work hard to make them happen.