During 2020 I got used to being up early to perform Shakespeare, working with the fab The Show Must Go Online, who are based in the UK. So being up early to participate in a UK-based project was not a new thing for me.
What was new, was the outcome of being up that early for that reason. Last Monday morning (at 3am Melbourne time), I had the great pleasure of being part of the UVFF Awards on the last night of the festival, which normally takes place in venues around Islington in London (in a normal, non-COVID world).
This year, it was a virtual event attended by over 70 people, which was actually brilliant for those of us not in the UK – as we could be part of the action. And what a night/early morning of action it was! We were up for 5 awards for Shakespeare Republic at the festival, including Best Web Series, Best Director of a Web Series, Best Actor in a Web Series (Frank Collison), Best Actor in a Web Series (Mark McMinn) and Best Actress in a Web Series … me!
The UVFF Jury was made up of some impressive people from the UK industry, including producers with credits with ITV, Apple TV+ and BBC among others, as well as a swathe of professional directors, writers and actors from the screen world. So I was thrilled and humbled that the series had received such a cache of nominations for this new season, as judged by so many talented and experienced industry people.
It’s always hard to predict award outcomes, so I always take the nominations as an award in their own right – just to be singled out like that from such a strong field of creatives and projects is an honour in itself. But, you still have that flush of adrenaline when the winner of your category is about to be announced – we’re all human, after all.
The first brilliant moment of the night was the announcement of the Best Actor in a Web Series category. We had two of our cast in the running for this, and I wish both could have received the award, but I was so thrilled that the fabulous Mark McMinn was announced as the winner – and was on the Awards Zoom call to accept “in person”! He gave such a beautiful speech with some very kind comments about me as director, which was so lovely of him. I was so very excited for him and it was such a deserved win! (You can see his episode here).
Then came the Best Actress in a Web Series Award announcement. I had schooled my face to be delighted for whomever won it, as I honestly didn’t rate my chances – there was some beautiful work on show in that category by some truly talented actors and I was prepared to just be happy with being nominated. And then they announced my name. I think I went into shock to be honest, as I have no clear memory of much after that moment! I know I spoke, I know I got a little emotional and I hope I thanked everyone on my team and the jury for the honour, because I am SO grateful for the personal acknowledgement of my work.
But, just in case I didn’t say all that at the time, let me say it now. I’d like to thank the UVFF Jury for these awards, James and the UVFF team for selecting the series and showcasing it in the festival and my own wonderful team for making this series possible. I’d also like to acknowledge all the other wonderful actors nominated in my category – it is an honour to be listed in your company.
So thrilled. So gobsmacked. But mostly, so, so grateful.
(I’m also going to say that as I filmed the episode essentially in my pj’s and have now won an award for that performance I think that is a great reason to continue working in my sleepwear at every opportunity, just saying 😉 ).
With much love and thanks again to all,