Royal Court and Union Theatre scoop top awards

Lalayn Baluch

The Royal Court and Southwark’s Union Theatre have received the top accolades at the 19th annual Empty Space Peter Brook Awards.

The prize for Established Studio Theatre went to the Royal Court, which beat off competition from the Arcola in north London and Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse to win a cheque for £2,000.

Notting Hill’s Gate Theatre and Battersea’s Theatre 503 lost out to the Union Theatre in the category for Up-and-Coming Theatre, which is presented to newly-established studio spaces, or to artistic directors with new policies.

Five companies – the National Theatre for its Watch This Space programme, the National Theatre of Scotland, Paines Plough, Forest Fringe and Artichoke – were given a special citation under the Theatre Without Walls category, which recognises organisations that are not based in permanent indoor venues.

Earls Court’s Finborough Theatre won the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award, sponsored by Nica Burns and the Cameron Mackintosh Foundation, and Battersea Arts Centre received the Peter Brook/Equity Ensemble Award. Angle Company took the Mark Marvin Rent Subsidy Award of £1,500, to enable them to produce a season of one-act shows at the Hackney Empire Studio.

The Empty Space Peter Brook Awards 2008 were judged by Stage contributor Mark Shenton, Dominic Cavendish of the Daily Telegraph, Guardian critic Lyn Gardner, Fiona Mountford of the Evening Standard, and The Times’ Sam Marlowe. The ceremony was held, for the first time, at the National Theatre Studio.

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