Stage 100 Awards 2012: Fringe Theatre of the Year

Sara Crowe and Michael Simkins in Less Than Kind. Photo: Ash Scott-Lockyer
Sara Crowe and Michael Simkins in Less Than Kind. Photo: Ash Scott-Lockyer
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As nominations open for the 2013 awards, we shine the spotlight on this year's winners. To nominate an organisation for The Stage 100 Awards 2013, click here

Fringe theatre of the year 2012: Jermyn Street Theatre

Who's in charge?

Gene David Kirk, artistic director, Penny Horner, general manager, Anthony Biggs, associate director

Why did they win?

The comeback kid in this year’s awards is Jermyn Street Theatre. After a period in which the venue sometimes struggled to deliver quality product and find its focus, the theatre enjoyed a renaissance in 2011. Artistic director Gene David Kirk - now in the post for a little over three years - has shown real flair with the programme, with little-seen Arthur Miller double bill Danger: Memory! capitalising on the intimacy of the space, while the team stole the march on the rest of British Theatre by staging the original version of Less Than Kind by Terence Rattigan for the first time. In a year peppered with Rattigan revivals, this was undoubtedly a coup – and a beautifully-executed one at that. Later in 2011, Jermyn Street showed real ambition with its revival of Charles Morgan’s The River Line and by mounting the musical Burlesque by Adam Meggido, best known for his Showstopper! musicals. The latter may not have been faultless, but it had passion and panache and revealed a theatre that is not scared of taking chances. For audiences, the best on the fringe offers new discoveries – whether they are long-forgotten plays in need of resuscitation or new experiments in theatre-making. Jermyn Street demonstrated a talent for both these things in 2011.


What have they been up to since winning?

2012 has been another great year for Jermyn Street Theatre. Its spring season kicked of with Giles Cole’s account of the private life of playwright Terrence Rattigan, The Art of Concealment. The production subsequently transferred to the Riverside Studios. Sarah Daniels’ Soldiers’ Wives starring Catherine Shipton played at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with Catherine nominated for best solo performer at The Stage Awards Acting Excellence. The production will now transfer to Salisbury Playhouse in the spring before embarking on a national tour. In March, director Tom Littler, who has previously directed Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night and Anyone Can Whistle at Jermyn Street Theatre, returned with Howard Brenton’s Bloody PoetryJohn Caine’s play Reunion, which played in April, dealt with the highly-controversial topic of assisted suicide.  This was followed by Charles Dyer’s Mother Adam, starring Jasper Britten and Linda Marlowe, which continued to cement Jermyn Street's reputation for unearthing hidden gems. In July, Jermyn Street staged the UK premiere of Ibsen's first contemporary play, St John’s Night, starring Sara Crowe and Danny Lee Wynter. Next was the most high profile production of the year - Samuel Beckett's All That Fall, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon. Atkins was nominated for best actress at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the show transferred to the Arts Theatre. The year has ended with musical: a revival of Boy Meets Boy, a rarely performed production first staged off-Broadway in the 1970s.

What they say about their Stage 100 Award

Anthony Biggs, Jermyn Street associate director:

"We were thrilled to receive The Stage 100 Award 2012 for fringe theatre of the year. It is a wonderful reward for everyone who has helped to transform Jermyn Street Theatre over the last few years, and has given us greater profile both in the UK and abroad."

To nominate an organisation for The Stage 100 Awards 2013, click here