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The Stage Awards 2016: winners announced

Lisa Burger, executive director of the National Theatre, which won Theatre Building of the Year and the International Award, with Richard Pilbrow. Photo: Alex Brenner Lisa Burger, executive director of the National Theatre, which won Theatre Building of the Year and the International Award, with Richard Pilbrow. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Sonia Friedman has been named producer of the year for the second time running at The Stage Awards 2016, where top prizes also went to Manchester’s Royal Exchange and London’s Almeida Theatre.

Cardiff’s the Other Room was the first venue outside London to be pronounced fringe theatre of the year in the six-year history of The Stage Awards in association with Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach.

Friedman’s win follows another successful year for her company, which staged four new West End productions in 2015, including Bend It Like Beckham, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch’s sell-out turn as Hamlet at the Barbican.

She fought off competition from Edinburgh International Festival and Rachel Edwards, the Tooting Arts Club producer behind the pop-up West End productions Sweeney Todd and Barbarians.

Manchester’s Royal Exchange won the regional theatre of the year award, which was collected by Maxine Peake and artistic director Sarah Frankcom, while the Almeida Theatre won the London theatre prize following the critical and commercial success of its Greeks season.

Elsewhere, the National Theatre scooped two honours: both the international award for its pioneering work with the National Theatre of China on a Chinese production of War Horse, and the theatre building of the year prize for the culmination of its enormous NT Future regeneration project.

Arts Educational Schools London collected the school of the year award, while stage manager Roger Miller was named The Stage Awards’ Unsung Hero for his work towards saving the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre.

The Stage’s print editor Alistair Smith said: “The Stage Awards are the only awards that recognise theatre at all scales and in all places, not just in the UK but across the world. Our winners come from London, Manchester, Cardiff and Felixstowe, but also China.”

He continued: “They range in scale from one of the world’s most high-profile commercial producers – Sonia Friedman – to Roger Miller, a devoted stage manager who helped save his local theatre; from the National Theatre, the UK’s foremost publicly funded theatre, to Wales’ first, tiny, pub theatre, which seats only 44 people and receives no funding.

Smith said the quality of work over the past year had made it “really tricky” for the judges.

The Stage Awards highlight the achievements by London, regional and fringe theatres as well as international successes. The prizes were handed out in a ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane today (January 29).

The Stage Awards 2016: winners in full

London theatre of the year
Almeida Theatre

Fringe theatre of the year
The Other Room, Cardiff

Regional theatre of the year
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Producer of the year
Sonia Friedman

International award
War Horse China

School of the year
Arts Educational Schools London

Theatre building of the year
NT Future

Unsung Hero
Roger Miller

Visit The Stage Awards 2016 website

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