Meeting Daniel Radcliffe at the Old Vic

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HELLO last night I met Daniel Radcliffe after queuing for an hour and wow there are no words (jk, this post is 1300 words long, but you get the point). I wanted to write this post for two reasons: 1. To always remember the moment and 2. For anyone who has the opportunity to meet Daniel to SEIZE IT because it’s super easy and also he’s the greatest person alive to take time out of his life for his fans.

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Daniel Radcliffe is currently wrapping up an extended run of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic Theatre in London. As I write this, there are currently four shows still available: three evenings from 4 May – 6 May and one matinee on 6 May. My friend and I attended the matinee showing yesterday and were sat in Row X at the bottom level (last row) and had restricted viewing (a column was blocking a thin part of the stage), but we moved forward a few rows and were free from obstructed vision for the second half (the seats were empty). We paid £16 each and the show lasted about two and a half hours (maybe a tad bit longer).

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The show itself was really entertaining. I read the play for one of my English lit major courses and while I found it comical at times, I wasn’t really invested in it/thought it was more silly than anything. We did go into the background and themes, as well as discussing it in relation to Hamlet and its position in the world of theatre when it was released, so that was all interesting, but it wasn’t my fave play of the semester. I personally find it quite difficult to read plays because they are truly meant to be seen, so any time I get to watch a performance of anything I’ve read or studied, I really like comparing it to the written work (spoiler alert: the play is ALWAYS better). I genuinely enjoyed the performance of this play because it was quirky, comical and beautifully orchestrated. The acting was really good all around and I left with a huge smile on my face.

I was actually a bit emotional watching Daniel Radcliffe perform LIVE because I have grown up watching him/seen him on the screen thousands of times and I’ve never attended a performance or seen any actor in real life who I have watched as long as Daniel. Obviously, I’m a massive fan of Harry Potter, from the films to the books to the actors themselves, so it was extremely surreal to see Daniel on stage and doing very well outside of JK Rowling’s world. I was completely convinced by his performance and it was easy to separate Harry Potter from Rosencrantz (or is it Guildenstern?), which I think is quite good for someone who played such an iconic role for 10 years and continues to be associated with it.

THE MEETING

If you have a ticket for any of the play’s showings, you can join a queue (I’d get there between 9:30 and 10:00 pm) to wait for Daniel after his evening performances. This is important to note NOW because there are only THREE evening performances left. A girl asked one of the theatre’s employees if Daniel would come out after our matinee showing, and she answered that he only comes out after evening shows otherwise he wouldn’t have enough time to get ready for the second show (this makes sense because our performance was over at around 5 and the next one began at 7:30). She then said that he WILL take the time to meet with EVERY SINGLE FAN who has a ticket and is in the queue. She stressed needing a ticket, which I’ll discuss more in a bit. My friend and I left without thinking we would get to return to meet him because we both had very busy days ahead of us.

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I kept thinking about how the theatre employee said Daniel would meet every fan, so I decided that despite being tired and busy, I would make my way over and give it a try. Another friend who hadn’t seen the play at all and didn’t have a ticket joined me, which I was super happy about because he is also a huge Harry Potter fan and I thought he should also try to see if he could meet Daniel. We got in the queue at around 10:15pm and I’d say we were towards the middle and were through seeing Daniel within an hour. Around 15-20 minutes after we joined the queue, people who had attended the evening show started to join the line and then we started moving forward. My friend waited outside the front of the theatre and asked 10 people if they would give him their ticket so he could meet Daniel. One man finally said yes and was quite nice about it, so if you don’t have a ticket, I would suggest trying this method.

They let a few people in at a time and Daniel was standing behind a rope, so we were able to see him as soon as we entered the room. There wasn’t any specific line once inside, just a small group of eager fans in a semi-circle around him. You are allowed to take photos, converse, hug, shake hands with and get up to two autographs (no recordings), all provided you show a valid ticket before entering (this could be a ticket from any showing so long as it hasn’t already been marked to note that it has already been used to meet Daniel). And then you just wait. It does actually go by pretty quickly despite the fact that he takes time to have a quick conversation with you.

I cannot emphasize how genuinely kind and invested he is in the fans. I was blown away by how much he actually interacts with and pays attention to you and only you when you’re speaking. He doesn’t have any kind of pre-rehearsed lines ready to spit out and he’s really nice to everyone. There were a few people in our group who were also huge Harry Potter fans, bringing photos, props and dvds for him to sign, and he was so cool about it. He made jokes, was extremely grateful and understanding, and was overall just a really cool, down-to-earth guy. I was impressed by the grace and authenticity he had meeting his fans, but mostly impressed by the fact that he does this after EVERY evening show with EVERY fan in line.

My interaction with him went as follows:

Hands ticket for him to sign
Me: Hey! How are you?
Daniel: I’m great! How are you?
Me: Great! Thank you so much for making this play enjoyable for me because I had to read it as part of my major and it wasn’t as fun
D: Oh? Was it better for you then?
Me: Yeah!
D: Well I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Me: Yeah! Can we get a photo?
D: Sure! GRABS PHONE AND READIES IT FOR SELFIE BECAUSE YEAH, HE TAKES THE SELFIES FOR YOU
Me: Great! THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU’RE GREAT! Gently touches his arm, dies.

And then I was just really happy and shaky and in disbelief. I’m surprised I actually kept my cool and didn’t spontaneously combust, but my hands were genuinely quite shaky afterwards. Before that, I got a jolt of excitement, so there weren’t ever any nerves, just elation and total disbelief that this was actually happening. And how cool is it that HE takes your phone and takes the photo?? Omg. Yeah, the quality wasn’t great in terms of lighting, but tbh we both look good and who cares because Daniel Radcliffe took a selfie of us!

So, if you can make it to the Old Vic, I highly suggest you watch the performance and then meet Daniel because it’s so easy to do and you get a really cool interaction with him. I will never be able to put into words how amazing it is that he does this for all his fans despite it being six years since the final HP film and despite going on to do all sorts of different projects since. Daniel Radcliffe is truly an angel sent from Heaven.

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