The event was held at cocktail bar Central and Co in Soho. When I arrived, quite a few people seemed to know each other or came along with friends. Despite my outgoing self, I was nervous – how will our blog compare to the big players like West End Wilma and Good Review.
However this thought soon disappeared as I began chatting to a girl called Hanna Gilbert, a freelance writer for Everything Theatre (check out her personal website, too, at www.gilbhub.com). With every person I met, I was fascinated to hear about how they became involved in writing within this specific field and their own experiences. This provided me with a huge amount of inspiration and motivation for our own blog's potential.
The evening was broken up by a Gin tasting session. Thanks to Aiden from Martin Miller's Gin, we learnt more about this refreshing beverage. I was surprised to find out the vast (and obscure) ingredients that it was made up of.
We were then split into six groups to come up with an innovative gin-based cocktail. My group's drink consisted of gin (of course), amaretto and white chocolate liqueur topped with orange peel, which we named 'The Book of More Gin'. It was strong, to say the least. Maybe too strong for the judges as unfortunately, we didn't win.
There were a lot of tasty pun-named cocktails to compete with (believe me, I tried them all). The one that triumphed, though, was Ginterval - a traditional blend of cucumber and gin. Here's the winning group's trophy.
Over an amazing cheeseboard (or two), we discussed the challenges we faced as theatre bloggers. We all emphasised that getting a ticket to review a show can be extremely difficult. In fact, I recently got told that although I had been recommended to see a West End show I still had to receive confirmation from a third person as to whether our blog was 'appropriate' in order to be allocated a ticket, despite continuing to receive updated press releases. If running a theatre blog isn't relevant to review it, we asked what we need to do in order to meet their criteria. Which leads me to the next issue we spoke about that evening...
Many of us were struggling to drive traffic to our blog website and, overall, build awareness of each blog. Prompted by Rebecca, there was a consensus that we would all benefit from actively promoting each other. After all, ten voices are louder than one. This should also demonstrate the value of our blogs to PR representatives. With this in mind, we created a unique twitter hashtag - #LDNtheatrebloggers - for all of us to use when posting about a new blog or to share an idea. If you are a keen tweeter, make sure you're following it! After one week, it's already created a buzz.
A big thank you to Official Theatre for having me, and in the spirit of kick starting my support for all the fabulous theatre bloggers I met that evening, here are a few links to check out: