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Lockdown Angels Honoured At This Year's WhatsOnStage Awards

The 21 Angels will receive a complimentary night at the theatre when live performances are able to resume.

As a reflection of our times, 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards were not only live streamed from The Turbine Theatre this evening, but, in this unique ceremony, a select group were honoured as Angels, following nominations from the public. As a thank you for all their love and support during lockdown, the 21 Angels will receive a complimentary night at the theatre when live performances are able to resume.

From midwives to Sainsbury's staff, and from Nightingale volunteers to amateur dramatic managers, these people have been a beacon of hope and light throughout the pandemic. Whether they reached out offering jobs to those whose income was completely cut off as the curtain came down on theatre, or launched events like Broadway Bingo or Fizz and Quiz Nights, these angels kept spirits high throughout the tough months of last year. Receiving this well-deserved title and prize were David Ashford, Elaine and Graeme Blackmore, Dave Chalfin, Steph Canning, Lynn Darcy, Lucie Devine, Amanda Dunford, Denis Fuller, Kate Golledge, Andrea Grey, Leontine Hass, Philip Joel, Charlie Kristensen, Yvette McDonnald, Scarlett Maltman, Charlie Morrison, Alun and Esther Williams, Corrine Priest, Kristie Winsen, Alex Young, Rita Zeta-Jones (aka Jessica Boshier)

Presented by Jodie Prenger and Tom Read Wilson, featuring Amy Hart and Oscar Conlon-Morrey, the evening saw performances from musical theatre stars representing shows that were cut short in 2020, or are due to open in the coming years. This included Cedric Neil performing "Gotta Start Somewhere" from Back to the Future the Musical and Ivano Turco performing "Only You, Lonely You" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's brand-new West End musical Cinderella.

Sita McIntosh, Chief Operating Officer of WhatsOnStage, said this evening, "We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of entrants - each of which told a unique story of solidarity, hope, love and camaraderie during a year that few could have ever foreseen. The "Angels" prizes were set up to reward those from all walks of life and, with nurses, teachers, supermarket staff and more among those on this final list, we've hopefully captured what makes our audiences truly special. Here's to getting our country's beloved venues safely back in action so we can all share the magic of live performance once more!"

The full list of Angels is below:

David Ashford

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.

Dane Chalfin

A voice coach who set up online six-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".

Steph Channing

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.

Lynn Darcy

An amazing midwife nominated for her kindness and compassion by the mother she assisted when her daughter was sadly born sleeping.

Lucie Devine

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.

Amanda Dunford

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 Fuller

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, checking in with members (especially those that live alone) and making sure that everyone is OK.

Kate Golledge

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".

Andrea Grey

During the pandemic Andrea has continued to champion the work of Curve in Leicester through sponsorship. This enabled 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 Hass

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.

Philip Joel

Despite his own struggles during the pandemic, Philip has kept the whole theatre community laughing and raised spirits, always available for a one-to-one chat and advice to help performers struggling to cope.

Charlie Kristensen

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.

Yvette McDonnald

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 Maltman

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 Morrison

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.

Corrine Priest

Despite suffering abuse and harassment herself in 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 their local theatre with the promise of more if needed.

Kristie Winsen

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 Young

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


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