My Week: Stephen Daldry

The film and theatre director on winning a Tony award, partying hard and getting very little sleep...
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The Independent Online


I'm in New York for the Tony Awards this evening, for which my show, Billy Elliot The Musical, is nominated for 15 awards.

We've had rigorous rehearsals all weekend as Billy is showing two routines this evening for the telecast. I'm so nervous tonight and I never get nervous at these award ceremonies. I think it's because I have so many friends here up for awards and I want them to win so badly. I probably make a rather bland acceptance speech for my Best Director of a Musical award. I'm not too worried about "shining" in those moments though, I'm sure no-one's paying me too much attention. The Billy routines go well, so I'm happy for the boys and especially when the three boys who play Billy share the award for Best Actor in a Musical. We have a huge party afterwards to celebrate our 10 wins, which is absolutely fantastic. I leave the madness at 2am, return to my hotel and pack my bags before heading to the airport and getting on a flight to Japan.


Technically Monday doesn't really exist for me this week as I'm crossing time zones, from New York to Tokyo and just trying to catch up on some sleep on a plane.


I finally arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon. A film I directed, The Reader, is opening in Japan this week so we have a lot of promotional work to do. It's not unusual for a film to be released in different countries months apart, sometimes even years, so even though it was released in the UK at the end of last year, it's only coming to Japan now. It's nice to be back with people who I haven't seen for a while and have a reunion.


It's The Reader premiere tonight and is a very lovely affair. Afterwards we are all taken out for dinner by our Japanese investors. After trying to get some sleep, I wake up in the middle of the night and end up wandering about my hotel room, which isn't much fun.


I do press all day for The Reader, which is exhausting with the jetlag. We've got a nice hotel to stay in, so I'm happy enough but I'm desperate for a bit more sleep.


I have some time off today so I'm going to see a bit of Tokyo. I'm very excited about going to watch sumo wrestling in the morning, which I've always wanted to do. After that I go and see some Kabuki – a type of Japanese dance-drama. Later on I get on another flight, this time for Australia. Billy Elliot The Musical, which has been a great success in Australia, is doing its last few shows, so it's time for more huge parties and emotional farewells. This has been one of the craziest weeks of my life. I can't believe I'm still going on this little sleep.