So 2014 has been an amazing year for me. My website Official Theatre is booming and I have made so many new friends. A lot of those new friends have been bloggers. Awesome bloggers at that.
As part of expanding Official Theatre I have been holding regular blogger meet up nights and set up a group called #LDNTheatreBloggers. The only problem is, I feel like a bit of a fraud. Yeah I write A LOT of unique blog like content for Official Theatre, but as it is my business I am restricted in the topics I can write about; mainly theatre.
I bloody love theatre, but there is a lot more to be than being a theatre critic; I love live music, I enjoy fashion and I pretty much worship a good gin and tonic. I like exploring new places and falling over my own feet when I do so. I am a presenter. I am a comic. I am the hungriest person I have ever met.
Inspired by the freedom of some of my lovely new blogging friends, I have decided to set up RebeccaFelgate.com as a new platform to discuss the inner workings of my crazy life, in which I have been “having a hoot since 1989.” (LETS ALSO discuss how pretty much everything that is awesome started doing its thing in 1989 like Taylor Swift, the Game Boy, The Simpsons…and SEE YA LATER Berlin Wall. Anyway….that sounds like the basis for another blog post!)
2014 was pretty awesome for my career and my website, Official Theatre. Finally I felt like all of the hard work I had been putting into the website started paying off as the industry started recognising our voice and we were invited to review more productions and interview more theatre professionals than ever. THEN the coolest thing happened…my review for Once the Musical was quoted on their poster.
Okay, great Rebecca, well done. Now I have been quoted on a few show posters before but what I am getting at here is the MAGNITUDE of the quote. And by that I mean the flipping SIZE OF IT! (Please click on the picture to see the poster in its full glory!)
I (obviously) loved Once and it was such an honour for them to actually care what I have to say about the show! The LOVELY guys who run the show’s marketing even sent me some posters to hang up in my house and office (which I have done and they are hung in PRIDE of place!)
Next time I am quoted so massively, I hope my name “Rebecca Felgate” can be included too, but I am so happy the poster has got the name “Official Theatre” out there a bit more; I built the site from scratch in 2012 and I am so thrilled to see all my hard work paying off in so many areas, especially this one.
As I said, I love Once. I have actually seen the show 4 times. I have interviewed several of the former cast members, including the original Guy and Girl, Declan Bennet and Zarinka Civitesic and Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill. If you are intertested in hearing what they had to say about the show, please check out the links below.
Once closes in March 2015. Please go and see the show before it is done; it is beautiful! Plus, if you are a Boyzone fan, you’ll be in for a treat as it is currently staring RONAN BLOODY KEATING! No really!
My lovely boyfriend, Will, turned 27 on Wednesday the 17th of December and I took him out for a fun day in London town to celebrate!
I decked out our little flat with funky balloons and ribbons (a bit girly, but what does he expect!) and he opened his presents in the morning.
Later in the day we grabbed a quick lunch at this amazing pizza place that I discovered near my office in Hoxton, called the Barrel Boulangerie. It is really nice inside, with cosy wooden tables and a kinda of clean/cool kind of vibe (it is Hoxton after all!)
We would usually order a pizza each but as I was taking Will out for a very special birthday meal (all will be revealed but I imagine you can guess where that took place by the title of this post!) we just split a “Mexican” (olive, artichoke, chilli, peppers, cheese.) It was bloomin’ lovely.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Next on the agenda was a mystery surprise adventure to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum – Will had wanted to go for a while for some reason and I am glad we did as it was weirdly wonderful. We saw giant snake skins, shrunken heads (kind of gross,) played with an interactive grafitti wall, navigated a mirror maze and escape a room FILLED WITH LAZERS! So yeah, despite Will turning 27, we acted like we were 7. The best way!
PLANET HOLLYWOOD IS AMAZING
If Will thought the day couldn’t get any more exciting after the LAZER quest at Ripley’s, he was wrong! Yep – we were off to PLANET FRIGGIN HOLLYWOOD!
Will absolutely loves Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like really. He has seen pretty much every Arnie film ever made at least 3 times (I *THINK* his favourite is Conan the Barbarian…classic Arnie!) and last year I bought him his autobiography for Christmas. When Will found out that Arnie had set up Planet Hollywood, a restaurant was FILLED with movie memorabilia and served amazing burgers, he wanted to go immediately!
Unfortunately Arnie sold the Planet Hollywood franchise in 2000 but it is still a super, super cool place where his legacy certainly lives on! His hand print is still upstairs in the restaurant, nestled with that of many other big celebrities.
As we arrived at Planet Hollywood, now located on London’s Haymarket, Will was positively gleeful! We were looked after so well and offered a drink at the bar before our table was ready. I started off the evening with a Hell Boy but Will OBVIOUSLY went for the Terminator!
We were taken to our seat, which was NEXT TO THE CHALICE FROM INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN! How cool is that? Resisting the urge to pocket the priceless piece of set, we browsed the menu, only to find my Once The Muscical Poster sitting pretty on a FULL PAGE SPREAD. It was meant to be!
Filled to the brim with all of the chalice and poster based excitement, we decided to get cracking and ordered the starter to END ALL STARTERS! The VIP sharing platter, because, y’know, it was my boy’s birthday!
All I can say is WOW. The platter was delicious. SO DELICIOUS! It came with buffalo wings, texas tostados, chicken crunch (essentially tender yet crunchy slices of delicious chicken ), parmesan spinach dip with tortilla chips and loaded potato skins. OH MY! The best part of it all was the cheesey spinach dip….seriously….I think I died and went to cheese heaven! For those of you who know me, you will be aware that I HEART CHEESE! ahhh!!! Before deciding in our mains we managed to slug down a cheeky glass of prosecco; it was a party after all!
Following the dizzying heights of the starter latter, I decided to go for a slightly less carby choice for my main; the oh so succulent surf n turf, served with runner beans, tomato and a side salad (with more parmasan because lady LOVES her cheese.) Will went for a much famed Planet Hollywood burger, settling in the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger after MUCH deliberation.
I asked for my steak to be severed rare, which the chefs thankfully mastered, and I have to say it was absolutely mouthwatering! The shrimp were big and juicy too, I even gave one to Will (it was his birthday and I felt like I had to OKAY!) Similarly his burger was definitely something to write home about! He liked it so much, in fact, that he decided to pocket the Planet Hollywood stick holding it together. Sorry PH!
I washed my main course down with a very refreshing “Le Fizz,” a cocktail comprised of Vodka and Elderflower cordial, whilst Will sunk a “Titanic” (I am too funny, I know!) We then ordered some cheeky dessert cocktails whilst pondering actual factual dessert!
The decision was made for us as our lovely waitress for the evening suggested a double chocolate chip brownie, served with whipped cream and fudge ice cream. OH GO ON TWIST MY ARM! We only ordered one though, so that isn’t so bad…right?!
We waited for our pud with a “Gorillas in the Mist,” a Bailey’s, Kahlua, Malibu, banana liqueur and vanilla ice cream concoction, and a cherry cocktail that, I have to be honest with you, I cannot remember what it was called (#wonderwhy.) All of a sudden a waitress appeared with a big sparkler in our brownie as I had tipped off the staff it was Will’s Birthday! The brownie was gorgeous and I was delighted our big day out finished, quite literally, with fireworks (ish!)
Absolutely stuffed and somewhat merry, Will and I tipped our lovely waitress and set about navigated our way back to Kilburn in a happy haze! It was such a great day out and Will told me later it was his favourite birthday ever, which pleased me a lot 🙂 Thank you Planet Hollywood for making us feel so special and encouraging us to order more drinks 😉
Earlier in 2014 I was finally able to carry out something I had wanted to do for a very long time since starting Official Theatre and that was get all (or as many as I could!) of the mysterious people I kept seeing at the theatre but never quite having the guts to speak to all together in one room. Drinking gin. Loads of it.
The Beginning of #LDNTheatreBloggers – June 2014
Tentatively, I invited around 40 bloggers and/or critics to come and chat theatre with me whilst supping everybody’s favourite tipple; a bloomin’ delicious gin and tonic! I hired the downstairs space of Central & Co, a very cool central London restaurant and cocktail bar for my meet up. I put layed on some nibbled and I also managed to get Martin Millers gin to work with me on the event, providing some of their world class gin gin and the amazing Aidan to give us all a tasting masterclass. Sweeeet. It was all set to be fun and frolics, I just needed some people to arrive.
Thankfully my invitees poured in, welcomed with a cool, tall gin, serve the Martin Millers way with Strawberry and black pepper. *swoons.*
My bold outfit choice for the event, a seasonally sassy peppermint suit from ASOS, proved quite the hit and I immediately managed to do some schmoozing! FINALLY I was able to put a name to so many face I had seen before! After a while we all started chatting theatre and I proposed to the group that we form a bit of a united front to stamp out some of the lonlieness and bitchy-ness that comes with the theatre industry. (It sucks, but the world of theatre is NOT always a welcoming place. Too many people in the industry are ready to tear you down without batting an eyelid, just because you DARED express some creativity…anyway….we all decided “f*ck that!”) Thus #LDNTheatreBloggers was born. Excuse the hashtag – it’s just an easy way for us all to communicate with one another and see each others content on twitter.
The Power of the Coloured Suit
As I mentioned above, the bloggers LOVED my peppermint suit. So much so that I felt I had to up my game in the next meet up and went for a vibrant pink number – a bit like a business barbie/ a day in the office for Elle Woods. Success. Anyway, the brightly coloured co-ord has kind of become my trademark now. What colour do you think I should opt for for the next meet up? I was thinking a BRIGHT red!
Many a Show!
As I often have a spare theatre tickets, I decided to share the love with the bloggers and we agreed to go on regularly outings together when we can. Since the first meet up I have taken LOTS, if not all of them out to review shows with me! Shows we have seen as part of the group are; Jamie Macdowell and Tom Thum at the London Wonderground, Let It Be, Autobahn, Evita, Sunny Afternoon, Made In Dagenham, Grand Guignol at the Southwark Playhouse, La Soiree at the London Wonderground and many smaller outings to shows such as Shakespeare in Love, Cats, The Play That Goes Wrong and many many more. I am hoping to get more big outings together for 2015!
I planned our second non-theatregoing meet up in November at the Soho Grind, one of the lastest trendy coffee shops stroke cocktail bars in the “Grind” revolution sweeping London!
On the 2nd of November 30 invite only #LDNTheatreBloggers decended upon the Grind, where I treated them to prosecco, espresso martinis and cheese and meet platters as well as a coffee cocktail making demonstration and music from live musican, Bity Booker.
This time my friends at SeatPlan (a website that helps theatergoers choose their seats) split the cost of the night with me in return for having sometime to tell our guests about their new site. So cheers guys!
2015 Meet Ups
I am planning my next Official Theatre led #LDNTheatreBlogger meet up for January 30th at PLANET HOLLYWOOD! (Yep, you know I love it!) If you are a theatrey writer, or a writer interested in theatre who runs their own website or blog, then do get in touch and I will make sure you are on the guest list!
The best thing about all of the meet ups has been meeting some truly inspiring writers who have really encouraged me to write my own personal blog as well as running Official Theatre. After a few (lots of) gins and a few (lots of) theatre trips, I am glad to also be able to call some of these people my friends! 🙂
An open invite to my assorted plots, schemes and general ponderings.