I made a video about the day which you can watch here but I wanted to write a blog to talk a little more in depth about what made the whole day so brilliant.
I’ve been quite down recently. I think the routine of my life started getting a little repetitive so I started finding new things for me to do. I started making videos a lot more often (almost every day in April in fact!), started writing a new book, i’d get restless at home so instead of chilling out and resting I’d start creative projects for myself that would take all day, I also went on my book tour during my three days holiday from Les Mis and not to mention, rehearsals for Les Mis have now started again which means rehearsing during the day from 10AM-5PM and then doing the show in the evening! Basically what I’m trying to say is because my life got a bit repetitive, I made a lot of work for myself in my spare time make things interesting again, to mix things up a bit which meant I didn’t give myself any time to breath or be still and relax. Everything I was doing was also very isolated and solitary so I didn’t really see anyone either. I ended up making myself a little miserable and I got so run down and so mentally drained and exhausted, I had to take a day off of work which I HATE doing! It’s also amazingly easy to get caught up in the negative when you’ve been too much inside your head. You overthink EVERYTHING to the point where one measly, upsetting, thoughtless tweet had the power to ruin my day…and I’d given it that power! Then every night after work, I had this horrible dilemma about leaving through stage door. I’d be so tired and feeling so so of…haunted, that my priority had to be to get home and get to sleep and sometimes going through stage door means chatting for 30-45 minutes with lots of people which is wonderful fun and something I truly enjoy! But it’s also the difference between getting home at 23:30 and getting home at 00:15 and when you’re rehearsing the next day and you need to be up at 08:00…it can be a killer! So, I’d get myself all worked up into a frenzy about needing to get home and sleep but also not wanting to disappoint at the people I could see from my dressing room window waiting at stage door holding my book! I never want to disappoint anyone but I’ve realise that sometimes my physical and mental health needs to come first so I apologise profusely in advance, as I won’t be out of stage door for the next few weeks over cast change as I’ll be working 12 hour days and need all the sleep i can get to put on the best shows possible for you guys, with the current cast and the new!
I had a day off to reset and Pete, bless him, came over and cooked dinner for me and made sure I sat on my bum and didn’t do a thing. But then Sunday came along and I had a few things planned and to a girl who had sort of shut herself away for a while and hadn’t been out of her own head much for the last few months, I was a little daunted at the thought of my Sunday plans!
First on the agenda was the Rugby 7′s at Twickenham Stadium. Having only ever been to one rugby match I was very unsure what the rules were and what the day would entail. All I knew was that it was “space” themed so I stuck on my Tardis dress and my friend, Celinde, and I got the train to Twickenham. The reason we were going at all was because all the boys in the current cast had bought tickets and four of us girls (also from the cast) decided to buy tickets without telling them to surprise them there! (Two girls bailed out on the morning which just left me and Celinde!) The boys were dressed as aliens in masks and gloves, some were even in morph suits and although Celinde and I aren’t big rugby fans, seeing their faces as we ran towards them yelling was totally worth the price of the ticket!
We whooped and cheered for the team we’d chosen to support when each 7 minute match began, we drank Pimm’s, and cider and danced a lot to the music the DJ played in “The Fan Zone” a little outside the stadium. 3PM rolled around and Celinde and I headed back to the station to get the train to Leicester Square!
Celinde had said that she’d never been to a movie premiere in London before and I’ve been lucky enough to attend quite a few so I assured her it was all very exciting and we’d have a brilliant time. This premiere was for Disney’s new movie ‘Tomorrowland: A World Beyond” and the Disney team who had invited us had hired a room in a hotel that overlooked the red carpet (which was actually blue) where we could go and get changed into our fancy dresses. I told Celinde we’d need to walk around through the side streets to get to the hotel. “Why can’t we just walk through Leicester Square?” Because that’s where the premiere is, babe. “But it’s only at the cinema!” I laughed and lead her round the corner to where we could see the hotel and Leicester Square and there it was. The blue carpet, the large Tomorrowland signs, the barriers and the hundreds of fans behind them all waving and cheering and wielding their cameras and autograph books, the cars with tinted windows rolling up and letting out movie star after movie star and the whole affair took up the whole of Leicester Square. Celine’s mouth was hanging open as I pushed her through the spinning doors of the hotel! We got changed and drank Prosecco and as my friends from the Youtube world arrived, I introduced them all to Celinde and she’s the sort of person who is able to make everyone in the room fall in love with her so it was fun to sit back and watch each of my friends, one by one, become besotted with her. I felt rather proud!
Then, it was time! Down on the blue carpet, we were on the “paparazzi list” to be officially photographed as “West Enders”. I have this horrible dilemma about whether I try and look sophisticated, elegant and glamorous or whether I smile like a big dorky idiot because I’m awfully excited to be at a premiere! The latter usually wins! I was also very excited to be wearing a dress I bought when I was 16 and had only worn on one other occasion: when meeting and singing for Steven Spielberg! *picks up the name I just dropped* I was amazed to be recognised by people on the other side of the barriers and to be asked for photos and autographs. I never feel like a celebrity when put in situations like that. I feel, and probably will always feel, like someone who’s won a competition to be there and rub shoulders with Hollywood’s finest!
The movie was BRILLIANT. I am truly, forever and always, a Disney fan so maybe my view is biased but I really did love the movie and I did shed a tear. It very much reinforces the idea of positive thinking which is something I truly believe in so it really excites me when ideas that I’m behind are broadcasted on a large scale to a lot of people! Especially when it’s done in the form of a Disney movie!
I went home that night in a wonderful mood. I felt like someone had pressed my “Reset” button, like on a Tamagotchi. I’d been inside my own head for so long and convinced myself that happiness and feeling well rested were a thing of my past! Luckily this weekend proved me wrong and although I have a lot of work ahead of me, as always, at least I’m pushing forwards with a better mindset!
This was a long one but if you’ve got this far, thanks for reading!
Dan Cole, English rugby union player and prop for Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership and for England national rugby union team internationally. Cole is known for his scrummaging ability, as well as his proficiency at the breakdown. His former coach at Leicester has described him as one of the finest tighthead props in world rugby.