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Forced Entertainment becomes first UK theatre company to win £200k Ibsen Award

Forced Entertainment's Richard Lowdon, Tim Etchells, Claire Marshall, Cathy, Naden, Terry OConnor and Robin Arthur. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Forced Entertainment has become the first UK-based theatre company to win the International Ibsen Award, which honours contribution to art and culture.

The prize is given every two years by the Norwegian government on Henrik Ibsen’s birthday and is worth approximately £200,000.

Forced Entertainment’s win also marks the first time the prize has gone to a group, rather than an individual.

The jury for the award said Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment had “created their own performative space within the history of theatre”.

“This influential theatre group is a group that recognises the theatre as a central voice within society, and which sincerely and with dedication uses theatre as an arena for public debate,” they said in their citation.

Forced Entertainment artistic director Tim Etchells said the award “recognises a whole area of contemporary practice away from the literary mainstream”.

The company has been creating work since 1984.

Forced Entertainment’s prize will be presented at a ceremony in September, where the company will showcase some of their work.

Previous winners have included director Peter Brook, who is based in France.