Graham Simpson wins prestigious Unsung Hero Award at The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals 2024 

Our wonderful Festival Theatre usher Graham Simpson has been celebrated as an Unsung Hero of musical theatre at The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals. 

Unsung Hero © BBC Big Night of Musicals.png
BBC and The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals

Graham Simpson, who first joined the Festival Theatre in 1994, marked the start of his 30th anniversary with us through a surprise award at the event, which aired on BBC One on Saturday 27 January. His nomination was kept secret and he was taken to the Manchester AO Arena under the guise of representing Capital Theatres at an industry event. Graham was surprised on the night by friends and colleagues including the likes of Brian Cox, Honorary Patron of the King’s Theatre, who appeared on screen to congratulate Graham on his award. 

Graham was presented with a commemorative plaque which will be installed at the Festival Theatre, where he has worked as an usher for three decades as well as providing much loved public tours and tending to the rose garden. 

The event was hosted by Jason Manford in-front of an audience of 12,000 musical theatre fans at the Manchester Arena and featured 12 of the UK’s West End and Touring productions including Hamilton and A Chorus Line which will tour to the Festival Theatre later this year. 

Graham said:

"It’s a real privilege to be recognised as an Unsung Hero of theatre. The whole experience was surreal, and it was such a surprise on the night, I'm glad I didn't twig! Capital Theatres is such a massive part of my life, it has been for the last 30 years and will be for many more. A massive thank you to the National Lottery for a special night.” 

Unsung Hero Graham © Getty Images for the National Lottery (1).JPG
Getty Images for The National Lottery

Fiona Gibson, Chief Executive of Capital Theatres, said: 

“We are all thrilled that Graham’s dedication to Scottish theatre across the last thirty years has been recognised through the Unsung Hero Award at the National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals 2024. 

“We are incredibly proud of Graham and the phenomenal impact he has made in bringing care and joy to so many through all the fantastic work he does for Capital Theatres. The Unsung Hero Award, of which there is only one, really shines a light on the sheer variety of remarkable activity that takes place both on and off our stages.” 

Adam Chataway, Head of Partnerships at The National Lottery said:  

“We were thrilled to bring back The National Lottery's Big Night of Musicals to the AO Arena, showcasing the immense talent and magic of musical theatre. The event was a heartfelt thank you to National Lottery players who have helped to raise over £7.8 billion to arts and theatre projects across the country since The National Lottery began. We were also honoured to present Graham Simpson with the Unsung Hero award for his incredible work and dedication to the Scottish theatre community for the last 30 years.” 

The event serves as a massive thank you to National Lottery players who in the past year, have helped The National Lottery award more than £517m to arts projects across the country, with £46m going towards theatre related projects. The King’s Theatre is one of these projects being supported by The National Lottery’s Heritage Fund.