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Posted by Dom, August 31, 2011

Competition Winners spend a day in London with “Olivia” author Lyn Gardner

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend a rather exciting photo shoot for the next book in the Olivia seriesOlivia Flies High – at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

We’d run a competition with DreamWorks Theatricals and a popular girls’ magazine – I don’t want to spoil it by saying which one! – for two of their readers to come to London to see Shrek: The Musical and to interview Lyn Gardner, the author of the Olivia series. Lyn, of course, is entirely at home in the theatre, being the Guardian’s theatre critic, and the theatre setting suited the dramatic aspect of the Olivia books perfectly.

It was a great day! The winners, Manon and Holly (pictured above, with Lyn), came to London from Wales, accompanied by Manon’s mum, Sally. They were absolutely charming… and very photogenic.

The girls’ questions for Lyn were first rate – they’d won the magazine competition on the strength of them – and they’d even rehearsed a dance routine to entertain Lyn with. Not only that, they made up a routine to teach to Lyn, too!

Cue some CRACKING photo opportunities…

I can confirm that Lyn not only gave excellent responses to the excellent questions, she also demonstrated herself to be pretty nifty on her feet! The step-shuffle-glide-together proved absolutely no problem…

The venue for the interview and impromptu dance lesson was the theatre’s Royal Retiring Room. It was breathtakingly grand. The theatre team took care of us all (BIG thanks to our magnificent red coat, Anthony, who was assigned to look after us) and our treatment throughout the day was every bit as royal as our retiring room. I want to give a massive thanks to Lyn for being so brilliant and game, to Dominic for taking such great photos, to Manon and Holly for being so utterly wonderful and professional, and to Sally for being such terrific company while the others were interviewing/tap-dancing/getting ready for their close-ups.

I didn’t get to see the play, but I know from Lyn’s tweets and a very thoughtful ‘thank you’ e-mail from Sally, that Shrek: The Musical was a hit with everyone. So, the day was over – a fat lady hadn’t sung, but a fat monster had – and now we just need to see what the final magazine feature looks like! Watch this space…