The Stage Awards shortlist: International Award
Any type of theatrical organisation or person is eligible for this award, which recognises work with an international element. This could be a UK company touring abroad, an international company bringing work to the UK, or organisations or people operating outside the UK. Judged on criteria including (but not limited to) artistic quality, business success and innovation
Award sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group
Best known in the UK for its 2014 production of Golem, which had its UK premiere at the Young Vic before transferring to the West End, 1927 first came to prominence in 2007 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with its breakthrough show Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
In the decade since, it has built up an enviable reputation – both at home and abroad – as one of the most exciting companies working at the intersection of performance, live music and animation.
Despite enjoying success in the UK with shows such as The Animals and the Children Took to the Streets, which played three seasons at the National Theatre, the company has made its mark most prominently on the international stage.
Its reach in 2017 was particularly impressive. Petrushka and L’Enfant Et Les Sortileges opened in Berlin in January and ran in repertoire throughout the year, along with its co-production of The Magic Flute.
Golem continues to wow audiences across the world, touring to Denmark, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, Belgium and Luxembourg this year.
The Magic Flute has also toured internationally, visiting France, Russia, South Korea, Hungary and China. It’s a great British export that allows international audiences to see just how imaginative and distinctive the best of UK theatremaking can be.
The Spanish Theatre Company was founded in 2014 by director, actor and producer Jorge de Juan and fellow director Paula Paz. In November 2016, it opened its first permanent home – the Cervantes Theatre – based under a Victorian railway arch in Southwark, London.
Its launch coincided with the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, considered the greatest writer of the Spanish world, after whom the theatre is named and who penned Don Quixote along with a string of plays and other works.
Despite being a relative newcomer, the theatre has established itself as a welcome addition to the fringe scene with a unique offering – London’s first venue dedicated to showcasing Spanish and Latin American plays.
The theatre presents a mix of Spanish-language classics by writers such as Gabriel Garcia Lorca, as well as new writing. Plays are presented in both English and Spanish, with the same production often alternating between languages from one performance to the next.
A truly multinational organisation, since opening, the Cervantes has featured actors of 15 different nationalities performing works from six countries.
The organisation has created a fascinating model that not only introduces Spanish and Latin American works to British audiences but also enables actors from around the world to share and learn techniques from specialists from other countries.
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.