Watermills and a bike shed among most welcoming award nominees

(clockwise from top left) Theatre by the Lake, St James Theatre, Bike Shed Theatre, Stamford Arts Centre, Watermill Theatre, Mill at Sonning and Wilton's Music Hall. Photos: Stuart Holmes/Tom Cronin/Rob Darch/Marketing Dept. at Stamford Arts Centre/Philip Tull/Martin Cook/Stephanie Wolff
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Theatres from Devon to the Lake District have been revealed among the shortlisted nominees for the My Theatre Matters! most welcoming theatre award.

The prize will be presented at the UK Theatre Awards on October 20, and was launched as part of the My Theatre Matters! campaign – a joint initiative launched by The Stage, Theat­rical Management Association and Equity to celebrate theatre across the UK.

Seven theatres have been shortlisted – the Bike Shed in Exeter, Stamford Arts Centre, the Watermill in Newbury, the Mill at Sonning, Wilton’s Music Hall in London, the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick and the St James Theatre in London. The venues range in size from the 60-seat Bike Shed to the 400-seat Theatre by the Lake (pictured on front page).

More than 225 arts venues entered the award, with the winner to be decided by public vote. To ensure a fair and competitive process, the voting system has been weighted by theatre capacity, with the winner decided by the number of public votes divided by the number of venue seats.

Launched in March this year, My Theatre Matters! is a nationwide campaign aimed at galvanising public support for local theatres across the UK in response to pressures on local government funding. To sign up to the campaign, see website www.mytheatrematters.com