WhatsOnStage Awards: The 21 Angels revealed
We had a really tough time picking 21 from a huge volume of more-than-deserving entrants
The 21 Angels at this year's WhatsOnStage Awards have been revealed.
Nominated by their peers, WhatsOnStage selected 21 individuals from a massive volume of entrants that we thought embodied the idea of theatre angels who have gone above and beyond to provide cheer and joy in the midst of the pandemic.
Each "Angel" will be treated to a free night at the theatre courtesy of WOS when venues are able to re-open and over the coming days we will be talking to each and every "Angel" to find out more out them, why they were nominated and how they feel about their win. In strict alphabetical order here are the winners.
A true theatre angel who has invested in new shows to get them off the ground (and then buying tickets) as well as sponsoring 2020 graduates to enable them to finish their studies.
Elaine and Graeme Blackmore
Set up a free community online stand-up event (Whole Lotta Comedy) in their local area to bring people together and keep them entertained during the pandemic.
A voice coach who set up online 6 week courses for West End and Touring professionals during the pandemic as a lifeline for out of work performers one of whom described them as a "life-raft during these dark times".
As a Customer Experience Manager for Sainsbury's in Sydenham she reached out via Twitter to the theatre community and offered temporary work, employing over 100 theatre workers at their most desperate time when all of their income dried up overnight.
An amazing midwife nominated by the mother she assisted when her daughter was sadly born sleeping for her kindness and compassion.
During the first lockdown Lucie created Broadway Bingo – a free online event designed to bring the musical theatre crowd together and raise money for various charities too.
Nominated by her husband for her dedication to her family, friends and students during the pandemic – always happy to go the extra mile to help others.
Denis is 62 and has been the premises manager of an Am Dram company for over 30 years. Despite being high-risk himself, he and his wife have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep the society going, check in with members (especially those that live alone) and make sure that everyone is OK.
Kate created an online group for emerging directors in Lockdown One to learn from each other and chat to one another, and 12 months on they are still together. It was said of her "she is extremely generous with her time and mentorship".
During the pandemic Andrea has continued to champion the work of Curve in Leicester through sponsorship enabling the theatre to engage three Community Ambassadors to provide free tickets to ethnically diverse and working class individuals and groups who had never attended a Curve production before.
Leontine has helped her performing arts students by providing online learning and industry talks and put together a Kander & Ebb revue cast recording to keep them engaged and connected during the pandemic.
Despite his own struggles during the pandemic, Philip has kept the whole theatre community laughing on social media and raised spirits, always available for a one-to-one chat and advice where he can help performers struggling to cope.
Charlie has been described as a ray of light for his anti-bullying campaign "Cheer Up Charlie" that aims to raise awareness and give people the support and confidence to deal with bullying in their lives, particularly young people who are mocked for their musical theatre dreams.
Throughout the pandemic Yvette organised Fizz & Quiz nights, sessions focused on self-care, resilience and well-being, cake-baking masterclasses and even an online Carol service. One of her nominators said, "These events have helped me to relax, laugh and even learn a new skill".
Scarlett is a NHS Nightingale volunteer who organised affordable counselling for hundreds of performers during the pandemic who needed help and support to cope with the loss of work, income and confidence.
Charlie is the founder of the West End Musical Choir and when COVID hit she made sure that the choir kept singing all year by moving rehearsals online and keeping everyone connected during lockdown which provided much needed sanity for many, especially those living alone.
Despite suffering abuse and harassment herself at a London tube station, Corrine has been a beacon of light during the pandemic with her uplifting and refreshing posts on social media urging everyone to stay strong and positive.
Alun and Esther Williams
Alun and Esther from Future Automation in Bedford have been described as the "most supportive, loyal and generous theatre-goers imaginable". When no public funding was forthcoming they made a very generous donation to the theatre with the promise of more if needed.
Kristie has created a monthly at-home musical theatre concert that is broadcast over Zoom called "Uplift" with the aim of showcasing uplifting showtunes performed by singers all over the world. Despite the work and expense of putting these concerts together they have always been free enabling as many people as possible to enjoy them.
Alex set up the Corona Day Plays Theatre Company where anyone can join and take part in a fun reading of a different script each week. The group has grown from around 20 people at the beginning to over 300 helping people to make new friends, stay connected and have some fun!
Rita Zeta-Jones (aka Jessica Boshier)
Described by one nominator as "hands down, my favourite London night in" Round to Rita's became the weekly highlight for many people during Lockdown for her singalong musicals and cabarets on Instagram Live keeping people entertained and their spirits up.