When I first created the London Lifestyle Awards® in 2009, one of the first categories I wrote down on my A4 piece of paper was ‘Theatre Performance of the Year’.
There were several reasons for this, and from the top awards in 2010 until this year, it has remained one of the most nominated and voted categories for all of the awards.
My inspiration for the London Lifestyle Awards® came from my passion for London and my deep belief that London is the greatest city in the world. Currently, LLAs represent an average of 18 categories each year. These categories focus on hospitality, health, beauty and, of course, drama.
These are the areas that Craft London, and are areas where we lead the world. Of course, theater in London has long dominated the world and our excellence long predates the inaugural awards in 2010. I have always believed this to be the case when considering the role of the London theater scene compared to the rest of the world.
I first fell in love with the theater before falling in love with London. Raised in Hull, appreciating the writing talents of John Godber, watching productions such as Teachers and Up and down, I was obsessed with this storytelling medium.
When I moved to London in 1998, my theatrical experiences were enhanced when West End glamor became my stomping ground. A small area of the capital, but the West End makes its impact felt throughout the city.
Sitting in theatres, watching stories unfold before me, I was struck by how the artistry and passion of writers, actors and musicians nurtures large audiences. However, what has also become apparent is how these full theaters have had a huge effect on localized economies as well. Their contribution goes beyond simply filling nearby bars and restaurants; the energy that moviegoers brought to West End venues before the curtains went up injects a sense of early evening occasion into West End venues.
We were reminded of this obliquely as bars and restaurants came out of lockdown while theaters remained closed. Not only have our great bars, restaurants and clubs missed out on the income of theatre-goers, they have also missed out on the aforementioned energy that fuels the West End buzz from around 5pm most nights.
In 2020, the London Lifestyle Awards® received a huge boost when Alpha Solutions, a long-time investor, celebrant and London theater producer, as sunset boulevard at the Royal Albert Hall, joined the awards as title sponsor. It was a hugely welcome boost, especially at a time when all of London was still grappling with the impact of the pandemic.
Alpha Solution also produced The best of the West End. Featuring the likes of Ben Forster, Mazz Murray, Kerry Ellis and Ruthie Henshall (to name but a few), The best of the West End testifies to the importance of the theater both for the city and for the people who live there. One of the first shows to be held at the Royal Albert Hall after the lockdown, 5,000 theatergoers gathered after being deprived of live theater for months.
I took a moment to look around this beautiful auditorium at the end of the stunning performances. Most of the spectators were on their feet to applaud and many, many people had tears in their eyes. It wasn’t just an appreciation but rather an outpouring of emotion; an instinctive reaction to the fantastic performances they had just witnessed. Their response demonstrated how much their souls had missed the performance and how much we all need them in our lives.
Lifestyle companies in London need London theatre, but – above all – Londoners need London theatre. If I didn’t know this already, the pandemic has certainly taught me this.
You can vote for the London Best Theater Show until the 14the June 2022.
Just visit https://www.britishlifestyleawards.com/londonvote