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Kenwright honoured with TMA special award for contribution to regional theatre

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Producer Bill Kenwright has received the Theatrical Management Association’s Special Award for Individual Achievement, for being the “greatest contributor to regional theatre of our time”.

At the annual awards ceremony, sponsored by The Stage and held at the Hampstead Theatre, TMA president Derek Nicholls paid tribute to Kenwright – who has staged more than 500 productions in his 40-year career, including international hits Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Blood Brothers – and described him as “unquestionably the most prolific producer” working in theatre.

Nicholls said: “This award is called special because it is the only one awarded directly by the TMA council on behalf of all of the membership. In this particular instance one of the main features that council wish to recognise was an outstanding lifetime’s achievement.

“With constant tours the length and breadth of the UK, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, from Belfast to Bromley, the recipient of our award has gone on to become unquestionably the most prolific producer, having more than 500 productions to his credit, among those indestructible cornerstones of UK touring – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Blood Brothers. His energy, tenacity and unstoppableness make him the greatest contributor to regional theatre of our time, and possibly and probably forever.”

Meanwhile, the Royal Exchange Theatre Company scooped three awards on the night. Brenda Blethyn received the accolade of Best Performance in a Play for The Glass Menagerie, designer Mick Hughes picked up the prize for Best Lighting Design – a new award sponsored by the Association of Lighting Designers – for The Children’s Hour, and Kate O’Flynn received the accolade of Best Supporting Performance in a Play for the same show.

Comedian Brian Conley’s appearance in The Music Man at the Chichester Festival Theatre was named the Best Performance in a Musical, Liverpool Playhouse’s production of Once Upon a Time At The Adelphi received the Best Musical Production award and Michael Boyd was named Best Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Histories.

The Stage’s Award for Special Achievement in Regional Theatre went to the Latitude Festival for its efforts to take theatre to new audiences.

The full list of winners:

Best Performance in a Musical: Brian Conley – The Music Man, Chichester Festival Theatre.

Best Performance in a Play: Brenda Blethyn – The Glass Menagerie, Royal Exchange Theatre Company.

Best Musical Production: Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi – Playhouse, Liverpool.

Best Supporting Performance in a Musical: Martin Ball – Mary Poppins on tour.

Best Supporting Performance in a Play: Kate O’Flynn – The Children’s Hour, Royal Exchange Theatre Company.

Best Director: Michael Boyd – The Histories, RSC.

Best Touring Production: Black Watch – National Theatre of Scotland.

Achievement in Dance: Theatre-Rites and Arthur Pita – Mischief.

Achievement in Opera: Opera North – Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo et Juliette.

Best Show for Children and Young People: Looking for JJ – Marcus Romer, Pilot Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Unicorn Theatre on tour.

Best Lighting Design: Mick Hughes – The Children’s Hour, Royal Exchange Theatre Company.

Best New Play: The Pitmen Painters – Lee Hall, Live Theatre Newcastle.

Best Set Design: Mike Britton – Lady From the Sea, Birmingham Rep.

TMA Special Award for Individual Achievement: Bill Kenwright.

Stage Award for Special Achievement in Regional Theatre: Latitude Festival.

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