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Olivia Colman reveals she had hypnotherapy to tackle stage fright


Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman revealed she underwent hypnotherapy in a bid to tackle her stage fright.

Colman, star of films including The Favourite and The Father, said her increased fame has exacerbated the problem, due to the “disappointment” fans may feel if she does not meet their expectations.

Speaking to Rufus Norris, co-director of the National Theatre for its Life In Stages YouTube series, Colman said she has “developed a massive fear” of being on stage.

Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman said she developed stage fright and has underwent hypnotherapy (PA Images on behalf of So TV)

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

Colman said she went for hypnotherapy to help her stop being “petrified”.

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.”

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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.

Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman won the best actress Oscar in 2019 (PA)

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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