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NT’s Shed named winner of 2013 Empty Space Peter Brook award

National Theatre with The Shed bottom right. Photo: Philip Vile
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The National Theatre’s new 225-seat venue, the Shed, has won this year’s Empty Space… Peter Brook award.

It will receive a £2,000 prize, which the National will match fund and donate to Talawa Theatre Company.

Described by theatre critic and awards judge Andrzej Lukowski as “quite simply a great use of space”, he said it made the NT look like a “friendlier” and “less formal-looking place”.

“There is something important about the enshrining of a black box studio at our nation’s flagship theatre,” said Lukowski.

Ben Power, an associate director at the NT who picked up the award, said: “It’s a privilege to be on a list with such consistently brilliantly run organisations. For a new theatre it’s quite a thing.”

“The National’s building can feel imposing both literally and metaphorically. For artists and audiences, the Shed represents an attempt to open it up and make a much rougher, messier and more porous point of welcome to the National Theatre and for that reason it has been really special,” he told The Stage.

At a ceremony held today at the National Theatre Studio, the Dan Crawford innovation award went to Battersea Arts Centre for its “unique use of space in converting the entire building to original development of new works”.

Meanwhile, the Peter Brook/Mobius award, given to studio theatres that develop writers and companies, was presented to the Yard in east London, and the Peter Brook/Equity ensemble award for supporting ensemble work in studio theatres went to Simple8 Theatre Company, based in London.

The Peter Brook special achievement award was given posthumously to Robert Robson, the former artistic director of the Lowry in Salford, who died suddenly earlier this year.

Sam Walters, artistic director and founder of the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, also received a special achievement award. He steps down next summer after 42 years at the venue.

Elsewhere at the awards ceremony, the Peter Brook/Mark Marvin rent subsidy award was presented to the Southwark Playhouse.


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