Olivia Colman describes 'wetting herself' on stage

Olivia Colman saw hypnotherapist after ‘wetting herself’ from stage fright during performance with David Mitchell

Actor said she had hoped hypnotherapy would help her ‘stop being quite so petrified’

Isobel Lewis
Friday 23 April 2021 10:30
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Olivia Colman has revealed that she saw a hypnotherapist for stage fright after once ‘wetting herself’ on stage laughing.

The Favourite star has an extensive history of working in the theatre, but appearing on the National Theatre’s Life in Stages interview series, told director Rufus Norris that her nerves hadn’t lessened as her career progressed.

“I worry... getting older and slightly more recognisable, the fear that all of these people will watch when you f*** it up and [say], ‘Ah, she did it wrong’ or ‘We went to see that person that we’ve seen on the telly – not as good on stage,’” she said.

“I think I’ve built it up... I did love it but I need to get over that.”

Colman then said that she went for hypnotherapy “to try and come up with some tools to stop being quite so petrified”.

Asked how her fear manifested, Colman explained: “That moment just before the lights go down, I just think, ‘I f***ing hate this job, I hate myself. I’m gonna or I’m gonna wee.’ And then suddenly you’re on stage and [think] ‘I can’t remember it’ and then it comes out. It’s an awful feeling.”

The actor recalled how one of the symptoms of her stage fright was that she would get “terrible giggles”. She said she once wet herself on stage from laughing while performing opposite David Mitchell.

“That is also a fear in the back of my head, that I could laugh so much, I will pee myself on stage,” she said.

“But I did do it once, on a raked [tilted] stage. My bladder emptied and it just went towards the audience in the front row.”

Colman is nominated for Best Supporting Actress at this weekend’s Oscars for her role in The Father.

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