It’s quite a change of direction. One minute you’re a tights-wearing, unendingly jolly, cheer bringing elf, the next you’re a mask-wearing, unendingly angry, fear bringing phantom. Such is the life of Ben Forster, who spent Christmas as Buddy the Elf in the West End’s most festive musical, before becoming one of London theatre’s most iconic characters, The Phantom Of The Opera.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-conquering Gothic hit will celebrate its 30th birthday this autumn, yet three decades into its run and the Music Of The Night is still as powerful as it was back in 1986.
If proof were needed – though it surely isn’t – that this tale of a murderous, opera house-haunting monster and his infatuation with Paris’ latest ingénue is still one of the West End’s most popular shows, it came when the musical was voted into the shortlist for the Magic Radio Audience Award, the only Olivier Award voted for entirely by the theatregoing public.
To celebrate, Forster snapped photos as he went about his terrifying business – and popped into the Olivier Awards 2016 with MasterCard’s Nominees’ Celebration at Rosewood London – to create this brilliant photo diary:
I woke up and had a relaxing morning with my beautiful little dog Winnie! This is her "take me for a walk" face.
I headed into London for a celebration lunch with all the nominees of this year’s Olivier Awards; proudly representing The Phantom of The Opera, which is shortlisted for the Magic Radio Audience Award.
Off for some serious power food from the Natural Kitchen on Marylebone High Street. Love it there.
Walking to work and I bump into our poster which still makes me feel special when I see it around. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.
Had some beautiful flowers waiting for me at the theatre. They most defiantly brighten up my day. Lovely.
I have to start putting my make-up on for the Phantom around one hour before the show. This is Tanya my make-up artist. She is fabulous.
Ready for the show. Thank you Tanya.
On the way to stage I bump into Nadim. He plays the Phantom’s arch enemy Raoul. He's a lovely chap though.
And The Phantom mid-show with his pet rabbits. Lol! These are actually props from the feast table in Don Juan. That's basically my day all wrapped up.
The Phantom Of The Opera is booking at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 1 October. You can book tickets through us here.
The winners of the Olivier Awards 2016 with MasterCard will be announced in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on 3 April. You can be part of the celebration at our Covent Garden Piazza event that will feature live performances from all the Magic Radio Audience Award shortlisted shows and a live stream of the ceremony. You can also watch extended highlights of the show on ITV shortly after the ceremony. Exact timing is yet to be confirmed. Keep up to date with all the latest Olivier Awards news by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and by following the Olivier Awards on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.