Gemma Arterton will co-host the Olivier Awards ceremony, bringing a touch of movie-star glamour to the London theatre world’s annual big night out.‘Darling, I’ve never been!’ she admitted, in best mock diva tones, when we spoke about the show. But she is ‘excited and touched’ to have been asked to host the event along with actor Stephen Mangan. The actress is in the theatrical spotlight at the moment. She started the year in the title role in The Duchess Of Malfi at the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, and will finish it by starring in the musical adaptation of the film Made In Dagenham, at the Adelphi Theatre from October.
She has had time to see some of the Olivier-nominated productions, but not all, she admitted. ‘I think I’ll have to wing it on the night,’ she said. ‘I have seen a lot, but I have been away working, and was in the theatre myself.’ Julie Walters will provide pre-recorded voiceovers, but it will just be Arterton and Mangan co-hosting from the stage of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on Sunday, April 13.
ITV will broadcast highlights of the ceremony later that night.Even though director Rupert Goold doesn’t start rehearsals for Made In Dagenham until August, Gemma has completed two workshops of the show, and is having six hours of singing lessons a week. "‘I’m freaking out because it’s the first time I would have done eight shows a week where there’s one hour of pure singing each performance. I need to build up stamina, and I need to get myself in shape,’ she said, of her preparations for her role as a sewing machinist at Ford in Dagenham in 1968, who helped lead female workers in a fight for equal pay.