As the Olivier Awards turn 40, the V&A has created an exhibition exploring the last four decades of theatre, plays and musicals on West End and Broadway. It was evident I needed to go and have a look.
Featuring backstage details, first scripts, notes and editorial requests, I felt as though I was getting a small glimpse into the hidden side of theatre. The exhibition held design plans, amazingly scaled model boxes, costume designs and even lightening plans, it shows just how much work is required to begin the staging process, let alone the ongoing work once a production has started.
There were interactive elements, allowing you to arrange the sound of Hairspray, balancing the singers and musicians alike. Equally a lighting deck presented the many spotlights and various coordination of lighting available to the light managers each evening. It showcased the work required for each production to even exist, the detail of plans and notes to ensure each show is perfect.
I also learned a lot more of the world of theatre, various facts and figures were presented across the exhibition, showing the difference between West End and Broadway productions but also the similarities and incredible records some productions held to their name.
It was great to see the set and costume designs for one of my favourite shows: Matilda, to see the essence of the character in each sketch and the grand scale of the stage. Alongside stepping into the stage of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, allowing you to feel the confusion Christopher goes through on stage.
If you’re around London and a theatre fan, it’s an exhibition not to be missed. The exhibition is at the V&A until 31st August before it moves to New York.