There really are some experiences that money can’t buy, and attending an awards ceremony like The Oliviers 2012 with MasterCard is certainly one of them. But thanks to MasterCard UK and their Priceless London programme, I was one of this year’s attendees.
It really is one of those fantastically glamorous occasions. The red carpet stretches up Bow Street from the junction with Floral Street, and as well as the crowds massed in Covent Garden Piazza for the OB, there are crowds massed around the security barriers, watching the stars, their minders and the guests walk up to the imposing front of the Royal Opera House.
We started the afternoon just a few streets away at The Delauney, one of London’s newest, most delicious restaurants, filled with Black Tie-clad, pre-Olivier diners, normal punters eating lunch, and these gorgeous red roses.
As we walked onto The Oliviers red carpet, we were met by Sir Laurence Olivier himself, lest we forget the reason why the awards exist.
The Awards are live broadcast on BBC television & radio, so the arrival timings were very precise. The red carpet opened at 430hrs, and everyone was expected to have arrived and found their seats in the Royal Opera House auditorium by 545pm, when the show started.
The red carpet itself is always amusing: Here are all the photographers and celebrity wranglers peering down the expanse of carpet to see who the next famous arrival might be:
Everyone attending the Awards approaches up the same piece of red carpet, so it’s perfectly possible to turn around and discover you are walking next to, say, Hayley Atwell or Ronan Keating. The stars tend to arrive in waves, so the photographers (the privileged ones who aren’t corralled behind the barriers or at the end of the carpet with the journalists) mill about waiting for the next celebrity to do the step & repeat.
[My red carpet fashion stars this year were Oliviers presenter Kara Tointon in scalloped sequined Alice & Olivia and 20s pin curls, Douglas Booth in a velvet Tom Ford tux, and Ruth Wilson (who won best actress for her work in Anna Christie) in a divine black Alexander McQueen strapless prom dress.]
And then it was into the beautiful Royal Opera House for the Awards ceremony, hosted this year by Imelda Staunton & Michael Ball.
The ceremony itself was magical: amongst my highlights were seeing the four little girls who played Matilda scooping Best Actress in a Musical (one of seven awards Matilda the Musical took home last night), seeing the cast of Crazy For You in their ensemble number, and the tributes to Sir Tim Rice, who was presented with a Special Award, which included Maria Friedman & Siobhan McCarthy singing ‘I Know Him So Well’ from Chess, and the absolute priceless, cherry-on-the-icing-on-the-fairy-cake experience of seeing Elaine Paige sing the most ravishing, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’.
And then, as if we weren’t on enough of a high already, the stalls filled with animals: yes, The Lion King cast were in the building, singing and dancing their hearts out in the finale, zebra hooves tapping, rhino horns waving & giraffe necks swaying.
And here’s the Royal Opera House’s Paul Hamlyn Hall (previously the Floral Hall), all lit up for the post-celebration party.
It really was the most glorious afternoon evening, so many, many thanks to MasterCard UK and their Priceless London programme for giving me a truly money can’t buy experience.
The Olivier Awards is part of MasterCard’s Priceless London programme, which offers all MasterCard cardholders that register on pricelesslondon.co.uk exclusive experiences and privileged access to the very best of the capital’s music, theatres, museums, restaurants, retail, sport and attractions.