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2016: My Year in Review

Like I mentioned in last year’s ‘Year in Review’, I developed a habit of disregarding every year that has passed since I lost my best friend in a road traffic accident as being a ‘bad year’. I made it my mission to fill 2016 with positivity and to live my life, for him, for Greg. And honestly, it’s been one of the best years of my life so far…

Here’s my 2016 highlights:

Tuesday 16th February: My dad and I ventured to London and went to see an evening production of Phantom of the Opera. Unfortunately, we missed Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine but we discovered the immense talent that is Emmi Christensson who is now playing the leading lady in Sweden. Read the blog post here.

Wednesday 17th February: My dad treated me and took me to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter where we pretended we were in Slytherin for the day. Yes, I’m still convinced my Hogwarts letter got lost in the post. It was IN-SANE and the platform 9 and three that they recreated was incredible. Read the blog post here.

Saturday 27th February: This might have been one of the most emotionally traumatic days ever. Double show is double the fun. I bought tickets nearly a year in advance for the final show of Miss Saigon in London. A few days before we went, we got last minute tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera matinee. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. I started crying before the curtain rose for Miss Saigon and I’m still crying (though internally) now because it’s no longer in London. Seeing Cameron Mackintosh, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg on stage in front of me and seeing the Miss Saigon cast give their everything truly has been my theatrical highlight. Oh, and I met Emmi Christensson, Nadim Naaman and Jon-Jon Briones. Read about Miss Saigon here.

Wednesday 6th April: I went to see Les Misérables on my own… I’m going to refrain from breaking into song. My twitter friend Nic (who is so SO lovely) was also in the audience so I met him after the show at stage door. We all need Nic’s confidence when it comes to meeting stage faves. We said a quick hello to Zoe Doano, Bradley Jaden and Peter Lockyer. Also, Ben Forster walked past me… I was only slightly hyperventilating. Read the blog post here.

Wednesday 1st June: I met Angel, my fabulous twitter friend, and we went to see Les Miserables and coincidentally, Nic was in the audience again. It’s our second home, who blames us?! We all met up after the show at stage door and met Eva Noblezada, Sanne Den Besten, Zoe Doano and Craig Mather. Angel and I became friends through being a fan of Celinde Schoenmaker and we saw her in Haymarket heading to Her Majesty’s. She said hello to us and remembered all three of us. We were all speechless for a good hour or so afterwards. Amazing! Read the blog post here.

Saturday 11th June: After university hunting, my parents and I went to an evening show of Phantom of the Opera and saw Celinde Schoenmaker as Christine. The show was bloomin’ fantastic as always. Celinde smiled, winked at me and blew me a kiss from the stage during the bows. Yeah, I’m still not recovered. I met a fellow blogger at stage door. When Celinde came out, she came over to me despite being quite a distance away from the crowd and said ‘Hey you, I’m going the other way but I wanted to come over and say hi’ and pulled me into a hug. My idol, ladies and gents.

Wednesday 13th July: I met Angel again and we went to see Wicked. I had never seen it before but it was a dream come true. It was remarkable. I also met Ellie-Mae who is the sweetest gal after two years of friendship on Twitter.

Wednesday 24th August: I’m still feeling extremely smug about picking the hottest day of the year to watch Jesus Christ Superstar at the Open Air Theatre in Regent Park. It was unbelievable. I grew up with the legendary music regularly being played in the house as it’s my mum’s favourite musical and the outdoor production did not disappoint. It was incredible and kudos to the performers, it was unpleasant sitting in that heat – let alone performing in it.

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Wednesday 31st August: My dad took to me to see Wicked for the second time; his first time. I have fallen head over heels for this show. The score, the set designs, the staging- it is utterly magical and I cannot wait to see it again, hopefully in the new year.

Monday 12th September: I ventured to Birmingham on my own after a day at college to attend the Waterstones book signing for On the Other Side. I met Carrie Hope Fletcher. Can I get a hell yeah? I did, however, smash my iPod screen into smithereens… but we won’t talk about that. Touchy subject.

Wednesday 26th October: Double show is double the fun, oh yes it is. My mum and I booked tickets to see Murder Ballad mainly because the love of our lives was starring in the show; Mr Ramin Karimloo. We managed to catch an impromptu matinee of Les Mis where I finally saw Adam Bayjou play Jean Valjean. He knew who I was at stage door: “Are you Catherine?” I met the legendary Eva Noblezada, who is now preparing for Miss Saigon on Broadway. I also got a photo with Chris Cowley and Craig Mather; an Enjolras-Marius sandwich – yes please. Murder Ballad was completely different to any other musical I’ve seen. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt absolutely stole the show. It was INSANE! We also met RAMIN KARIMLOO! *Insert a whole line of heart-eyed emojis.*

Saturday 5th November: I am now a legal alcohol-buying adult who also met their idol on their birthday and is still recovering. I went to see Phantom of the Opera for my 18th with my family and Twitter bestie who travelled from Brighton to see me. We met Celinde Schoenmaker after the show who wished me a ‘happy birthday’ on stage and in real life. I finally caught Ben Forster in the role after four missed attempts. Happy was an understatement. Read the blog post here.

Monday 28th November: I received an unconditional offer for Kingston University London to study Journalism. Opportunity of a lifetime. I cannot wait to move to my favourite city next September.

Wednesday 21st December: I met my Twitter friend of four years in London where we saw Les Mis (my ninth time). I had the most amazing day with such a wonderful person. Adam Bayjou came up to me entirely unprompted after his performance as Jean Valjean.

To finish off this wonderful year (with the exception of breaking news), I’m seeing Phantom of the Opera on Wednesday with my pal. Extremely excited.

Thank you to my amazing family, wonderful friends (both in real life and online), you loyal readers and idols, you’ve made my year one that I’ll never forget xxx

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