The Stage Awards Previous Years

JANUARY AWARDS 2019 - STATIC BANNER

The Stage Awards – previous winners

Winners of The Stage Awards 2018 in association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd

Regional Theatre of the Year sponsored by Evolution Productions
Winner: Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Under Rachel O’Riordan’s artistic directorship, the Sherman has revived itself after significant funding cuts to become a beacon for new writing in Cardiff.

O’Riordan’s ongoing creative partnership with playwright and associate artist Gary Owen, which began with the acclaimed Iphigenia in Splott in 2015, has resulted in two superb productions: Killology and The Cherry Orchard, the former co-produced with London’s Royal Court.

The Stage called The Cherry Orchard “a gently heartbreaking study of landscape and loss”, while Killology was praised for the way Owen “patiently and earnestly contemplates the generations of pain underpinning male violence”.

The venue is passionate about nurturing emerging talent. Through its New Welsh Playwrights Programme, founded in 2016, it guides participants through a series of workshops and training to hone their writing skills.

The theatre has particularly encouraged work written in the Welsh language and boasts a network that develops young and emerging directors and theatremakers. This offers opportunities to work in both Welsh and English. Both are overseen by David Mercatali, who joined the venue in 2017 as associate director.

Also shortlisted
Birmingham Hippodrome
Royal Exchange, Manchester


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

The Almeida Theatre, under the artistic directorship of Rupert Goold, has had a phenomenal year. Opening in February, Robert Icke’s production of Hamlet remains one of the standout Shakespearean productions of 2017. Starring Andrew Scott at his emotive best, it transferred to the West End’s Harold Pinter Theatre and will be broadcast by the BBC in 2018. This was followed by Goold’s production of James Graham’s new play Ink about the birth of the Sun newspaper, starring Bertie Carvel as Rupert Murdoch. It also transferred to the West End.

Its summer production of Christopher Shinn’s Against was followed by Mike Bartlett’s well received Chekhovian new play Albion and its season concludes with Anne Washburn’s stage production of cult TV show The Twilight Zone.

A third West End transfer – for Icke’s 2016 production of Mary Stuart – was also announced. It opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre in January. One of the Almeida’s older hit shows was also broadcast on TV: the BBC version of Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III, starring the late Tim Pigott-Smith.

As ever, there was much going on beyond its main-house productions. The Almeida Theatre Young Company took From the Ground Up to the Edinburgh Fringe with considerable success; Figures of Speech, a digital anthology exploring famous political speeches, entered its second wave; and Against All Odds, presented in conjunction with Arsenal in the Community and written by Charlotte Josephine, ran over the summer. There was even a chance to see Chris Brett Bailey’s fan-favourite This Is How You Die there in September.

Also shortlisted
Barbican Centre
National Theatre


Fringe Theatre of the Year sponsored by encoreinsure.com
Winner: Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

This is the second year in a row that the Hope Mill Theatre has been nominated in the fringe theatre of the year category. This relatively young venue, housed in a grade II-listed former cotton mill, was founded by Joseph Houston and William Whelton. To create a boutique producing venue in Manchester, they turned the mill’s old engine room into a 120-seat theatre with cafe and bar. Its focus on musical theatre led The Stage’s associate editor Mark Shenton to call the venue “Manchester’s Menier Chocolate Factory”.

The venue is completely self-funded, receiving no money from the local council. Since opening, it has helped reshape Manchester’s theatre scene, programming five in-house shows. The theatre’s stagings of Yank! and Hair, both co-productions with Katy Lipson and Aria Entertainment, have transferred to London, the latter in a reworked production in the subterranean Vaults space. The Hope Mill’s revival of Pippin will also transfer to London next year.

The venue launched Powerhouse Plays, a new-writing initiative in January 2017, which is designed to support emerging northern writers. It has also proved a hit with local audiences and since opening its doors more than 20,000 have visited the theatre. The Hope Mill also recently signed the Equity Fringe Agreement for all its in-house productions, the first fringe venue in the north to become part of the agreement.

Also shortlisted
Orange Tree Theatre, London
Summerhall, Edinburgh


Theatre Building of the Year
Winner: Bridge Theatre, London

London’s first new commercial theatre of scale for four decades opened this year – not in the West End, but nestled between City Hall and Tower Bridge.

Former National Theatre supremos Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr quickly decided against opening in Theatreland. They hope the move east may be a catalyst for further theatre development, just as Tate Modern was for the art world.

Built on the old Potters Field coach park, the 6,873 sq metre cultural facility they pitched for was required by Southwark Council to approve a development that includes 400 homes.

Architects Haworth Tompkins had already designed a ‘utopian’ theatre auditorium: serendipitously, the space was almost exactly the right dimensions for them to realise it.

Working with Tait Stage Technologies, they built a large yet intimate theatre of about 900 seats. The auditorium is configurable, moving from conventional end-on stage for its opening production of Young Marx, to promenade in its second with Julius Caesar and thrust in its third, Nightfall.

This has all been possible thanks to Tait’s rock-gig technology used to create the seating structure and staging, which were configured and tested in an aircraft hangar in Norfolk. The auditorium comes in 57 pieces, split into towers and seating galleries, which are built in a factory. They are carried into the theatre on a monorail and a ‘Tonka truck’ fits them in place.

The theatre’s spacious foyer, with elegant ambient lighting, has been praised, as has its disabled access and plethora of ladies loos. Then there are the madeleines, hailed by critics and punters alike as a leap forward for the humble interval snack.

Also shortlisted
Bush Theatre, London
Storyhouse, Chester


Producer of the Year sponsored by PRG XL Video
Winner: Hull City of Culture

Four years ago, the announcement that Hull was to be UK City of Culture in 2017 was met with titters in some quarters. They’re not laughing now. The arts programming has revitalised the city, and will continue to do so.

As well as the Turner Prize, street parades, giant art installations and light shows, Hull hosted a series of groundbreaking performance pieces: Blast Theory’s interactive art project, Curious Directive’s virtual-reality work and Slung Low’s Flood, which was broadcast on television, online and performed live on a floating stage.

Hull New Theatre reopened after a £16 million refurbishment with a performance from the Royal Ballet, while Hull Truck Theatre’s season included Richard Bean’s The Hypocrite about Hull governor John Hotham. Of those who saw it, 38% had never been to the theatre before.

The city’s museums and galleries have welcomed more than a million visitors, with 90% of local residents experiencing at least one City of Culture event in the first three months.

Theatremakers have hailed 2017 as the start of something special: pieces by Middle Child Theatre, Bellow Theatre, Silent Uproar and Pub Corner Poets were among the most raved about shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The East Yorkshire city won the bid by pitching to “coming out of the shadows”. After a successful year of arts programming – and a £60 million boost from visitors – it has more than lived up to that promise.

Also shortlisted
Michael Harrison Productions
Sadler’s Wells, London


School of the Year sponsored by TodayTix
Winner: Royal Exchange Young Company, Manchester

Formed in 2012, the Manchester Royal Exchange’s Young Company is the producing theatre’s resident company for artists aged 14-25.

It trains 110 young people every year and features young directors, digital content creators, performers, producers, technicians and writers. Impressively, each year’s cohort is representative of the 10 districts of Greater Manchester, with a third of participants from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, 6% with a disability and many from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Funding is available for career development.

Over the year, members take part in 170 sessions and five full productions. In 2017, 28 Young Company members also featured in community ensembles across three main-house productions.

More than three quarters of participants have gained employment or continued training in the creative industries with several working on productions at the Exchange: Yandass Ndlovu performed in Jubilee and Josephine Hepplewhite was movement director on The Suppliant Women.

Writers from the scheme have been longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and alumni have appeared in Hollyoaks and worked in theatres including Hull Truck and Oldham Coliseum, as editor of website A Younger Theatre and on the BBC Politics Show, and at Warner Bros and Polydor Records.

This was a particularly fine year as the company’s production of Nothing by Amanda Dalton was recognised at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

Also shortlisted
Sandringham School, St Albans
Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow


International Award sponsored by the Ambassador Theatre Group
Winner: Imaginate for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

Imaginate is Scotland’s national organisation creating theatre and dance for young people. Every summer for the past 29 years it has hosted the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which takes place during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and brings together some of the best theatre and dance productions for young people from around the world.

The festival has established itself as a major industry event – as well as its programme of work on stage, it attracts delegates and programmers from around the world, creating a fertile ground for developing new work and networking. It offers a launchpad for global tours of both local and international work.

In 2017, the event attracted 300 delegates (up 50% from 2016) from 23 countries, while the programme of work featured 16 international productions from nine different countries and played to more than 10,000 children.

Many of Imaginate’s own productions have originated from relationships developed at the festival, including Baba Yaga, its latest co-production between Scottish and Australian artists, which sprung from a conversation at the 2016 festival.

The festival has developed a well-deserved global reputation for excellence and innovation. Its model is a beacon of good practice not only in the children’s theatre sector, but also more widely.

Also shortlisted
1927
Cervantes Theatre


Innovation Award sponsored by Charcoalblue
Winner: The Everyman Company, Liverpool

Not all of 2017’s innovations involved technology – one re-imagined an age-old theatrical tradition.

Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre must be applauded for resurrecting its repertory company and repackaging it for the 21st century. That it succeeded – with a few bumps along the way – and will continue in 2018 feels like a big moment for the industry.

Rep has been on its uppers and many great actors who learned their trade in regional rep believe its loss would be a hammer blow to the industry. Five years ago, Ian McKellen called the situation “desperate”.

The Everyman had one of the UK’s most prestigious rep companies until it was wound up in 1992. Alumni include Pete Postlethwaite, Julie Walters and Bill Nighy. Artistic director Gemma Bodinetz announced in 2016 that the theatre was to resurrect its rep company. Never did paying homage to theatre’s traditions feel so risky.

Earlier this year, 14 actors performed five plays over the course of a six-month season. Standout productions included Fiddler on the Roof, which The Stage called “electrically charged” as well as an “electrifying” Romeo and Juliet. The season was rounded out by The Sum – a play with songs by Lizzie Nunnery, The Story Giant and The Conquest of the South Pole. The company revelled in the frenetic reality of rep and has announced that 40% of its members will be returning in 2018.

Bodinetz believes others were watching to see if rep would work outside Liverpool. She said there was still a way to go to get it right but “we’ve got enough left in the tank”. It may just spark a change that sees other theatres going back to the future.

Also shortlisted
National Theatre Open Access Capture pilot scheme
Team behind The Believers Are But Brothers


Sustainability Award sponsored by GDS
Winner: Arcola Theatre

The Arcola Theatre in Dalston’s commitment to sustainability makes it one of the greenest venues in London, if not the UK. By aiming to become the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre, it continues to innovate in this area.

In 2017, it experimented with low-energy LED stage lighting in its flagship opera festival, Grimeborn. Philips Entertainment Lighting provided new LED stock that resulted in a 36% power saving.

Environmental sustainability has always been at the heart of the venue’s ethos. The former paint factory uses solar panels, DC power grids and carbon-neutral heating to make the building as energy-efficient as possible.

The theatre’s willingness to continue to refine its green credentials and explore new technologies that help it do so is why it’s being recognised this year.

Also shortlisted
The Attic
The Mill at Sonning


Unsung Hero sponsored by White Light
Winner: Clare Ferraby

Take a glance around a newly refurbished theatre in the West End and it’s likely you’re witnessing the work of Clare Ferraby, a woman who has been responsible for the interior design of more than 80 venues since she began working on the Crucible in Sheffield 50 years ago.

Ferraby has formed a particularly close working relationship with producer and theatre owner Cameron Mackintosh, working on all his theatre refurbishments, including the Prince Edward and, most recently, the Victoria Palace. Indeed, it’s reported that Mackintosh will work with no one else when it comes to the design of his theatres. The impresario has hailed Ferraby’s work on the multi-million redevelopment of the Victoria Palace as her “finest creation”. Writing in the programme for Hamilton, he describes how Ferraby suffered two debilitating strokes while working on the Victoria Palace, but insisted on carrying on “dashing around with her walking stick in hand” to create a an “extraordinary, uplifting and timeless space”.

For most of her career, Feraby has worked with her husband, Nick Thompson, as part of architects firm RHWL. But Ferraby continued long after his retirement and her list of projects include the Lyceum, Wyndham’s, the London Palladium and the Duke of York’s in the West End, as well as the Leeds Grand Theatre, Theatre Royal Nottingham and Malvern Theatres. Through her work, lovingly restoring the interiors of many of the country’s historic theatres, Ferraby has made a lasting impact on the fabric of the British theatre industry. As Cameron Mackintosh Ltd managing director Nicholas Allott comments: “Two major strokes in the past couple of years have not prevented her from usually being found at the top of many a ladder, sometimes in the dark, shouting instructions to a team of painters. She’s amazing.”


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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