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Olivia Colman used hypnotherapy to tackle stage fright, Oscar winning star reveals

Luke O'Reilly
·2 min read
<p>Olivia Colman stars in The Father</p> (AP)

Olivia Colman stars in The Father


Olivia Colman used hypnotherapy to overcome her stage fright, the Oscar winning actress has revealed.

The star told Rufus Norris, co-director of the National Theatre for its Life In Stages YouTube series, that her increased fame had led to her developing a "massive fear" of being on stage.

She last performed in 2017 in Mosquitoes at the National Theatre.

Colman, whose films include The Favourite and The Father, said she went for hypnotherapy to help her stop being “petrified”.

Olivia Colman last performed on stage in 2017Getty Images
Olivia Colman last performed on stage in 2017Getty Images

She said: “I worry that as I get older and slightly more recognisable, the fear … that all these people will watch when you f*** it up and say: ‘We went to see that person we have seen on the telly – not that good on stage’. I think I’ve built it up. I did love it. I need to get over that.”

Asked by Norris how the fear manifests itself, she said before going on stage she would think, “I f****** hate this job, I f****** hate myself and I’m going to vomit or wee’, and suddenly you are on stage.

“It’s an awful feeling.”

Colman, who is Oscar-nominated for The Father, said she also gets the giggles and told of a time when, starring opposite David Mitchell, “I wet myself from laughing”.

She said: “On a raked stage, my entire bladder emptied and it just went towards the audience in the front row.”

Ms Colman also gets the gigglesPA Archive
Ms Colman also gets the gigglesPA Archive

Colman also recalled her Oscar win in 2019, describing it as a “pretty big pinch me moment”.

The 47-year-old said she wished she could remember more of the biggest night of her career, when she was won best actress for her role in The Favourite.

She described it as “such a head f***” and revealed the statuette – “the little gold man” – is “sitting in a cupboard” because she feels embarrassed.

However, she joked when no-one is looking she sneaks a glimpse at the award.

Colman – whose TV credits include Peep Show, Fleabag and The Crown – also discussed how her increasingly high profile affects her day-to-day life.

She said. “I’m not good with people knowing me and me not knowing them. It is not equal. It is an unfortunate downside to the job I love.”

Colman, who has been married to Ed Sinclair since 2001 and has three children, said fans have filmed her eating lunch outside.

“I don’t really understand how people don’t register that you are a normal person,” she said.

Colman also said she does her best to avoid social media and has regretted the occasions she has seen things posted online about her.

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