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Black Watch wins South Bank Show theatre prize

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Black Watch, the play based on young soldiers serving with the regiment in Iraq that won acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has scooped the South Bank Show award for theatre.

The National Theatre of Scotland production, which originated at the Traverse, picked up a Stage Award for Acting Excellence last August and has already been lined up for a screen adaptation.

A spokesperson for the show said at today’s event at London’s Savoy Hotel that Black Watch had aimed to push the boundaries of what people thought was theatre and connect with new audiences. Imelda Staunton presenting the award described the show as “fierce, passionate and unguarded”.

The Royal Ballet took the dance accolade, while Opera North won the award in that genre. The arts council selected Channel 4’s Bradford Riots writer Neil Biswas to honour for his work pushing the boundaries for ethnic minorities. Biswas beat off competition from Doctor Who star and Kidulthood creator Noel Clarke.

Connie Fisher, the star of BBC reality show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and the Sound of Music West End show, lost out of winning the South Bank Show/Times Breakthrough Award, which is voted for by the public. In 2006 Billie Piper took the accolade but this year it went to a three-piece band from Wiltshire called Archie Bronson Outfit.

ITV1 finally received some recognition after years of criticism over the quality of its programming, its much-lauded production See No Evil: The Moors Murders took the award for television drama.

The show, which was fronted by Melvyn Bragg and featured stars such as Victoria Wood, Russell Brand and Michael Grade, will be broadcast on ITV1 on January 28.

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