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Sheffield Theatres tipped for success at UK Theatre Awards 2016

Sheffield Theatres' production of Show Boat. Photo: Johan Persson
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Sheffield Theatres dominates the nominees for this year’s UK Theatre Awards, with a total of eight nods.

The nominations are revealed as it has been announced that Ian McKellen will be presented with a special award honouring his outstanding contribution to British theatre at the event. Previous recipients include Matthew Bourne and Paul Kerryson.

Sheffield Theatres has picked up two nominations in the best musical production category, for Flowers for Mrs Harris and Show Boat, both directed by former artistic director Daniel Evans. They are nominated alongside Chichester Festival Theatre’s Half a Sixpence.

Flowers for Mrs Harris actor Clare Burt also receives a nod for best performance in a musical, with Show Boat picking up nominations for Emmanuel Kojo and Rebecca Trehearn in the best supporting performance section. Show Boat and Flowers for Mrs Harris designer Lez Brotherston is nominated in the best design category.

Sheffield Theatres’ co-production of Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It is nominated for best new play, alongside Tom Wells’ Folk and Zinnie Harris’ This Restless House. Its co-production of A Raisin in the Sun, with Eclipse Theatre Company and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, is up for best touring production.

The best director nominees are Robert Hastie, Samuel Hodges and Raz Shaw, while the best performance in a play category sees nods go to Paapa Essiedu for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, Julie Hesmondhalgh for Wit at the Royal Exchange and James McArdle for Chichester’s Young Chekhov.

UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said the nominees demonstrated that “theatres in the UK are continuing to thrive artistically”.

He added: “Night after night, incredible work can be seen on stages up and down the country. From thought-provoking drama to musical revivals, our industry is a world-leader. We also recognise the hard work of the dedicated teams backstage and front of house, without which there be no theatre,” he said.

The awards will be presented on October 9 at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall, presented by Lesley Manville.

Manville said it was “hugely important that we recognise the incredible work that is performed onstage and backstage at theatres across the country”.

The nominees in full:

Best new play

• Folk by Tom Wells, a Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre production
• Cuttin’ It by Charlene James, a Young Vic/Royal Court Theatre co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Sheffield Theatre and the Yard Theatre
• This Restless House by Zinnie Harris, a Citizens Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland production

Best musical production

• Flowers for Mrs Harris directed by Daniel Evans, a Sheffield Theatres production
• Half a Sixpence directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, a Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh production
• Show Boat directed by Daniel Evans, a Sheffield Theatres production

Best touring production

• A Raisin in the Sun directed by Dawn Walton, an Eclipse Theatre Company, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Sheffield Theatres production
• The Herbal Bed directed by James Dacre, an English Touring Theatre, Royal and Derngate Northampton and Rose Theatre Kingston production
• Toast directed by Eleanor Rhode, a Snapdragon production

Best show for children and young people

• Gangsta Granny, a Birmingham Stage Company production
• The Hobbit, a production by the Dukes
• Little Red and the Wolf, a Dundee Rep Ensemble production

Best director

• Robert Hastie for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a Theatr Clwyd production
• Samuel Hodges for The Glass Menagerie, a Nuffield Theatre production
• Raz Shaw for Wit, a Royal Exchange Theatre production

Best performance in a play

• Paapa Essiedu for Hamlet, a Royal Shakespeare Company production
• Julie Hesmondhalgh for Wit, a Royal Exchange Theatre production
• James McArdle for Young Chekhov: Platonov and Ivanov, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Best performance in a musical

• Clare Burt for Flowers for Mrs Harris, a Sheffield Theatres production
• Charlie Stemp for Half a Sixpence, a Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh production
• Allyson Ava-Brown, Jennifer Saayeng and Nina Toussaint-White for The Etienne Sisters, a Theatre Royal Stratford East production

Best supporting performance

• Emmanuel Kojo for Show Boat, a Sheffield Theatres production
• Rebecca Trehearn for Show Boat, a Sheffield Theatres production
• Olivia Vinall for Young Chekhov: The Seagull, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Best design

• Lez Brotherston for Flowers for Mrs Harris and Show Boat, Sheffield Theatres productions
• Max Dorey and Sally Ferguson for And Then Come the Nightjars, a Theatre503 and Bristol Old Vic production in association with Tara Finney Productions
• Robert Jones for Strife, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Achievement in opera

• The Royal Opera and Guildhall School of Music and Drama for 4.48 Psychosis in association with the Lyric Hammersmith
• Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales for The Devil Inside
• Welsh National Opera for Figaro Gets a Divorce and In Parenthesis

Achievement in dance

• Dance Consortium for bringing back the exceptional dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 for a UK tour
• Gary Clarke for his vital, heartfelt and socially relevant dance-theatre production Coal
• Northern Ballet for commissioning two striking new contemporary ballets: Jonathan Watkins’ 1984 and Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre

Promotion of diversity

• Belgrade Theatre
• Eclipse Theatre Company
• Oldham Coliseum

Theatre employee or manager of the year

• Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum
• Diane Belding, Liverpool Empire Theatre
• Neil Chandler, New Wimbledon Theatre

Achievement in marketing

• Birmingham Hippodrome
• York Theatre Royal
• Northern Ballet

Best presentation of touring theatre

• Curve on Tour
• Northern Stage
• Northern Ballet

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