The Stage Awards Previous Years

JANUARY AWARDS 2019 - STATIC BANNER

The Stage Awards – previous winners

Winners of The Stage Awards 2019 in association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd

Regional Theatre of the Year sponsored by Evolution Productions
Winner: Nottingham Playhouse

The last 12 months has seen Nottingham Playhouse re-energised. Under the leadership of chief executive Stephanie Sirr and new artistic director Adam Penford, the theatre has not only enjoyed an increase in ticket sales and an audience growth of 10.5%, it has been revitalised creatively.

Penford’s first full season included a revival of Beth Steel’s mining drama Wonderland, Matthew Xia’s production of Mufaro Makubika’s Alfred Fagon award-winning play Shebeen, about the city’s race riots; Holes, the first in-house family show on the Playhouse’s main stage in years, and a slick production of 1960s musical Sweet Charity, featuring a dazzling performance by Rebecca Trehearn.

Most recently, Penford directed a revival of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, starring a superb Mark Gatiss in the title role, which was broadcast by National Theatre Live. Local company Fifth Word staged James Fritz’s Lava, a timely new play about grief, in the Neville Studio. Xia was recently appointed an associate artist along with playwrights James Graham and Amanda Whittington.

Part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium and a partner on the Open Door initiative, Nottingham Playhouse has displayed a commitment to work that engages with and reflects the region’s communities while making the theatre a destination venue, putting it firmly back on the map.
Also shortlisted
Royal Exchange, Manchester
Theatr Clwyd, Mold


London Theatre of the Year sponsored by Managed Networks
Winner: Bush Theatre

Madani Younis’ final year as artistic director of the Bush Theatre proved a suitable swansong. Under his tenure, the west London venue has been reinvented both physically and in terms of its ethos, with programming that aims to reflect the diverse make-up of its Shepherd’s Bush audiences.

The year included Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking, part of Younis’ “passing the baton” initiative, which commits to producing one play a year by a British writer of colour from the 20th century.

Other highlights included two shows that became hits in Edinburgh: The Believers Are But Brothers by Javaad Alipoor, and the return of Monica Dolan’s award-winning play The B*easts. However, it was Misty by Arinze Kene that gave the Bush its standout hit of the year, subsequently moving to Trafalgar Studios in the West End. It explored the complexity and pressure of being a black artist.

Other critical successes at the Bush included Vinay Patel’s epic An Adventure, and Ben Wetherill’s Jellyfish, which featured two neurodiverse cast members.

As Younis prepares to hand over the running of the theatre to Lynette Linton, he passes on energised audiences and a theatre boasting diverse programming that reflects 21st-century London.

Also shortlisted
Almeida Theatre
Young Vic Theatre


Fringe Theatre of the Year sponsored by encoreinsure.com
Winner: Barn Theatre, Cirencester

The Barn Theatre is one of the country’s youngest venues, having only opened this year. A passion project, Ian and Chrissie Carling transformed an old Nissen hut in the Cotswolds that had previously hosted amateur and youth productions into a modern 200-seat theatre with rehearsal facilities and a bar and restaurant on site.

Under the artistic directorship of Iwan Lewis, the venue has already established itself as a producing house in an area previously under-served by theatre, programming work designed to appeal to a range of ages. It opened in March 2018 with the well-received The Secret Garden, and has since staged four impressive in-house productions including revivals of Simon Stephens’ One Minute, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and a comedy version of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Opening a new theatre at any time is challenging, but, in an incredibly short space of time, the Barn has had a significant impact on the cultural life of its hometown of Cirencester and the surrounding area, as well as attracting national interest in the work it is staging. A considerable achievement by any standards.

Also shortlisted
Omnibus Theatre, London
Vault Festival, London


Theatre Building of the Year sponsored by TAIT
Winner: Battersea Arts Centre, London

After the devastating fire that engulfed the south London venue’s Grand Hall in 2015, it has been restored to breathtaking effect. This year marked the completion of a 12-year project to overhaul the Grade II*-listed building, which means the entire site is now used for creative and community activity.

Masterminded by architecture firm Haworth Tompkins, the Grand Hall reopened this summer and has been re-imagined as a 21st-century performance space. It can now host bigger productions and community events, as well as weddings, gigs and festivals.

The brick shell that survived the fire was stabilised, and the architects left the scarred walls on display, a nod to the building’s ‘ghosts’. They added a timber lattice inspired by the decorative pattern of the original plaster vault not just for aesthetic reasons, but because it offers greater technical and acoustic possibilities. Demountable audience seating and promenade galleries now connect to the balcony and can be configured, the bar has been refurbished and the Lower Hall has been redesigned as a space for local businesses, start-ups, artists and charities.

BAC’s long collaboration with Haworth Tompkins means the building has been transformed over a number of years, but 2018 has been the time to celebrate. From the despair of the fire, the reconstruction of the great old municipal building marked a significant moment of evolution and change; the phoenix well and truly rose from the flames.

Also shortlisted
Bristol Old Vic
Royal Opera House, London


Producer of the Year sponsored by PRG XL Video
Winner: Sonia Friedman Productions

You might have forgiven Sonia Friedman for putting her feet up after the barnstorming success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but there was no stopping her in 2018, another extraordinary year for the producer. Her hits were plentiful, and ran on both sides of the pond.

Here in the UK, they included another two-parter, The Inheritance. It may require audiences to sit for the best part of seven hours, but this tender and humorous look at life a generation after the Aids crisis in America had critics and audiences weeping, and raving.

Meanwhile, Friedman brought The Jungle to the West End – transforming the Playhouse into a Calais migrant camp – and bringing an unlikely subject matter to mainstream audiences. That production later opened Off-Broadway in New York.

She also transferred Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman to Broadway, following its successful UK run. To top it all off, she was named in Time magazine’s most influential list, with the citation – from actor James Corden, strangely – reading: “She understands people, what makes them tick. She has the ability to cut through.”

Meanwhile, Harry Potter continues its march to global domination, with its New York production, which opened in 2018, soon to be followed by Melbourne, San Francisco and Hamburg.

Also shortlisted
Fiery Angel
Fuel


School of the Year sponsored by TodayTix
Winner: Open Door, London and East Midlands

Lack of diversity in the theatre workforce continues to be a major challenge and Open Door offers the beginning of a solution to improving representation in the talent pipeline. Part-funded by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke when it launched in 2017, this non-profit organisation provides 18-25 year olds from low-income households with financial support and a year-long programme of training, mentoring and other resources in preparation for, and in support of, drama school applications.

The project, founded by actor David Mumeni, has also received funding from Arts Council England, Women Voices and United Agents and has partnered with drama schools LAMDA, Central, Drama Centre, RADA, Royal Welsh and Guildhall and, for its second year, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It has also received support from high-profile agents and casting directors, as well as theatres including the Royal Court, Soho Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse.

Despite being a relative newcomer, it has already shown impressive results: its first cohort of 30 students received 200 audition recalls, 85 final-round auditions and 35 offers of places at its partner schools. In year two, the scheme will be expanding to accept applicants from the East Midlands and will also be offering support for young people keen to pursue a career in production or backstage.

Also shortlisted
Great Torrington School, Devon
Young Lyric at the Lyric Hammersmith, London


International Award sponsored by the Ambassador Theatre Group
Winner: Hijinx Theatre, Cardiff

The Welsh theatre company, whose productions always include learning-disabled actors, has enjoyed its biggest year so far in 2018.

Its international work saw Hijinx visit 67 cities in 16 countries, with the ongoing tour of hit show Meet Fred, and a groundbreaking collaboration in Africa. In February, it took four actors with Down’s syndrome to Lesotho to create a piece of inclusive theatre with local drama students. It was particularly important to bring the work there, as Lesotho is a place where disability is perceived as a curse, and babies with disabilities are often abandoned at orphanages. Touring a production with visibly learning-disabled actors was an extraordinary act and played to audiences of more than 2,000 people.

Meet Fred, Hijinx’s show about a potty-mouthed puppet, toured to countries across Europe and then headed to the US and China; it has now been translated into eight languages and performed more than 200 times. In bringing Meet Fred to China, the company held workshops and discussions with local learning-disability groups to show how its actor training academy model works. It hopes to roll out that model in the country, as well as in Lesotho.

A notable honour for Hijinx in 2018 was the invitation, by Welsh Arts International, to bring the show to the inaugural Welsh Performing Arts Festival in Dresden. It was one of just seven companies that were invited.

Also shortlisted
National Theatre Scotland, Glasgow
New International Encounter, Cambridge and Hvalstad


Innovation Award sponsored by Charcoalblue
Winner: New Diorama Theatre

London’s New Diorama Theatre, a previous winner in The Stage Awards’ fringe theatre category, has continued to prove itself vital to the development of artists and companies in 2018, under the leadership of artistic director David Byrne and executive producer Sophie Wallis. This work includes rewriting its programming model to create a bold new strategy, with the intention of making a more profound contribution to the companies it engages with.

The new model means the number of companies programmed per year has reduced from around 30 to seven, but each receives a £10,000 commission for a five-week run as standard, and will take a 50/50 box office split of profits above a certain amount. The deal also includes a full tech week and comprehensive marketing and press support.

Since it was announced in May, this move has not only received praise for its generosity and support towards these companies, but the theatre has played to almost full capacity. Its innovation has been visible in the work, with productions including Deafinitely Theatre’s English and British Sign Language 4:48 Psychosis.

The new model also sends a strong signal to the industry that inventive approaches to theatremaking can be found and fresh takes on the venue-producer relationship forged, even in London’s cash-strapped fringe sector. The New Diorama consistently leads the way around artist development, and this innovation is yet another example of its pioneering spirit.

Also shortlisted
National Theatre and Spotlight for ProFile database
Talking Birds for Difference Engine captioning software


Sustainability Award sponsored by ETC
Winner: Lyric Hammersmith, London

The Lyric Hammersmith’s commitment to sustainability has seen it become one of the most engaged theatres for tracking and reducing its carbon emissions, which it has been carrying out for nine years.

This year it became the first theatre to be awarded a five-star rating – the highest possible – by Julie’s Bicycle. It is only the second arts organisation to be given this award.

Among the achievements that earned it such a certification were a reduction in its energy use and emissions by 50% since 2015, becoming a zero waste-to-landfill venue and installing a low energy lighting grid as part of its recent auditorium refurbishment. It also installed three beehives on its roof, in partnership with the local business improvement district.

Earlier this year, the Lyric also ran the #PlasticFreeLyric campaign – a four-week project to cut down on single-use plastics. This included themed weeks and talks to encourage staff to change habits around coffee cups, plastic bags and plastic lunch containers. The theatre has also removed all single-use plastic bottles from its cafe and bar as a result.

The Lyric’s sustained work on its environmental impact is consistently impressive, but this year’s Julie’s Bicycle rating marks it out as an industry leader in this area. The #PlasticFreeLyric campaign, which received support from David Attenborough as well as major research bodies, was a highly visible and commendable project, propelling an important message to the wider sector.

Also shortlisted
Julie’s Bicycle and Arts Council England for the Accelerator Programme
National Theatre, London


Unsung Hero sponsored by White Light
Winner: Pat Nelder

Described by a former colleague as “one of the foundations of the theatre’s success”, our Unsung Hero has worked at his home venue for 41 years. All of his current and former colleagues who put him up for this award spoke of his enduring enthusiasm for his job.

Pat Nelder started as a junior member of staff in the LX department at Theatr Clwyd in 1977, working his way up to senior management. He is currently capital development associate, projectmanaging the feasibility study for a major capital development at the theatre. Steve Tompkins, the architect working with him on the project, describes him as “knowing everything” about the theatre.

Over his time at the venue, he has worked with five different artistic directors. The most recent, Tamara Harvey, says of him: “The most extraordinary thing about him is the fact that after 41 years at Theatr Clwyd, he’s still as enthusiastic, as committed and as engaged as someone who joined the company yesterday. I’m his fifth Artistic Director and, I’ve no doubt, the fifth Artistic Director to sit in front of him at first meeting and launch into a passionate speech about all the changes I want to make. And not once in that first meeting, nor indeed in the three years since, has he rolled his eyes or allowed a hint of weariness to creep into his “Yup, we can do that.” Quietly, constantly and with unceasing humility, he is the very best of us. And I fear, as loved and respected as he is by every single person both within and outside our building, we won’t know his true worth until the day he retires (though I also suspect – and hope – that he’ll never truly retire).”

The Unsung Hero 2019 winner is Pat Nelder, the stalwart, foundation and capital development associate of Theatr Clwyd in north Wales.


The Stage Awards 2018

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Evolution Productions
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Managed Networks
Almeida Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Encoreinsure.com
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Theatre Building of the Year
Bridge Theatre, London

Producer of the Year
Sponsored by PRG XL Video
Hull City of Culture

School of the Year
Sponsored by TodayTix
Royal Exchange Young Company, Manchester

International Award
Sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group
Imaginate for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

Innovation Award
Sponsored by Charcoalblue
The Everyman Company, Liverpool

Sustainability Award
Sponsored by Global Design Solutions
Arcola Theatre

Unsung Hero
Sponsored by White Light
Clare Ferraby


The Stage Awards 2017

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Evolution Productions
Sheffield Theatres

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Managed Networks
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Encoreinsure.com
New Diorama Theatre, London

Theatre Building of the Year
Sponsored by Audience Systems
King’s Cross Theatre, London

Producer of the Year
Sponsored by PRG XL Video
Sonia Friedman Productions

School of the Year
Sponsored by TodayTix
Musical Theatre Academy

International Award
Sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

Innovation Award
Sponsored by Charcoalblue
Complicite

Sustainability Award
Sponsored by Global Design Solutions
Tara Theatre, London

Unsung Hero
Sponsored by White Light
Ned Seago


The Stage Awards 2016

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Theatre 2016
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Haagen-Dazs
Almeida Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Encore Insure
The Other Room, Cardiff

Producer of the Year
Sponsored by John Good
Sonia Friedman

School of the Year
Sponsored by Digital Theatre Plus
Arts Educational Schools London

Theatre Building of the Year
Sponsored by ABTT and Richard Pilbrow
NT Future, London

International Award
Sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group
War Horse China

Unsung Hero
Roger Miller


The Stage Awards 2015

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Haagen-Dazs
Young Vic Theatre

Producer of the Year
Sponsored by Ticketmaster
Sonia Friedman

School of the Year
Sponsored by Nick Hern Books
Young Everyman Playhouse, Liverpool

International
Sponsored by Nyman Libson Paul
Shakespeare’s Globe

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Audience Systems
Nuffield, Southampton

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by encoreinsure
Park Theatre, London

Theatre Building of the Year (joint winners)
Sponsored by Richard Pilbrow
Roundabout Theatre, Paines Plough / Shakespeare’s Globe

Unsung Hero
Sponsored by ABTT
Sue Nightingale, head of wardrobe at Birmingham Rep


The Stage Awards 2014

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Audience Systems
Sheffield Theatres

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by encoreinsure
Southwark Playhouse

School of the Year
Sponsored by Nick Hern Books
National Youth Theatre

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Haagen-Dazs
Hampstead Theatre

Producer of the Year
Sponsored by Ticketmaster
Michael Grandage Company

Unsung Hero
Sponsored by the Association of British Theatre Technicians
Andy Collier


The Stage Awards 2013

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Union Theatre

Producer of the Year
A Play, a Pie and a Pint

School of the Year
ALRA North

London Theatre of the Year
Shakespeare’s Globe

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sheffield Theatre

Unsung Hero (joint winners)
Anne McNulty and Chris Isherman


The Stage Awards 2012

London Theatre of the Year
The Bush Theatre

Regional Theatre of the Year
Chichester Festival Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Jermyn Street Theatre

Producer of the Year
The National Theatre

School of the Year
Musical Theatre Academy

Unsung Hero
Edwin Shaw, Heather Miller and Frances Coyle


The Stage Awards 2011

London Theatre of the Year
The Royal Court Theatre

Regional Theatre of the Year
Northampton Royal and Derogate

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Finborough Theatre

Producer of the Year
English Touring Theatre

School of the Year
Sylvia Young Theatre School

The Stage Awards 2019 – Sponsors

Headline sponsor

The Stage is hugely proud of its association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd which helps to make The Stage Awards a special event

Category sponsors

The Stage is delighted with the extensive support shown to The Stage Awards by our category sponsors

encoreinsure.com (Fringe Theatre)-01

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