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Women dominate best new play category at UK Theatre Awards

Sharon D Clarke in Caroline, Or Change
Sharon D Clarke in Caroline, Or Change
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Sharon D Clarke, Joseph Millson and Tanya Moodie are among the performers shortlisted at this year's UK Theatre Awards.

For the first time in the awards' history, all nominations for best new play are by female playwrights.

Clarke, who will also present the awards ceremony on October 15, is shortlisted for her performance in Caroline, Or Change at Chichester Festival Theatre, one of two nominations for the musical.

The Grinning Man at Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Exchange's Sweet Charity also picked up two nominations apiece, with Sheffield Theatres' Everybody's Talking About Jamie shortlisted in three categories.

These include best performance in a musical for the show's star John McCrea.

He is up against Clarke, Louis Maskell for The Grinning Man and Kaisa Hammarlund for Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange. The Manchester venue is nominated for five awards, the most of any theatre, with Sheffield Theatres shortlisted in four categories.

The UK Theatre Awards celebrate regional theatre across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during the past year.

Moodie's performance in Trouble in Mind at Theatre Royal Bath earned her a nomination in the best performance in a play category, alongside Millson, for the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Rover, and Nicholas Woodeson, who stepped into the lead role in the Royal and Derngate's Death of a Salesman following the death of Tim Pigott-Smith.

Katherine Soper's Bruntwood Prize-winning Wish List is up in the all-female new plays category, alongside Tash Marshall, for Half Breed, and Lizzie Nunnery for Narvik.

Best director nominees include Emma Jordan, for Red, which ran at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, Robert Hastie for Julius Caesar at Sheffield and Gemma Bodinetz, for her repertory season at Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.

Julian Bird, chief executive of UK Theatre, said: "This year's nominations demonstrate the extraordinary breadth of work being written, directed and performed across the UK.

"The performing arts are one of the country's most dynamic and progressive industries, shaped by incredibly talented individuals and companies, on and off stage."

The awards take place at London's Guildhall in October, where the winners of the publicly voted most welcoming theatre award and the annual Clothworkers' Foundation award will also be announced.

View a full list of nominations here.

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