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Alexander Zeldin wins £10,000 Arts Foundation award

Alexander Zeldin. Photo: Francesco Squeglia
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Writer and director Alexander Zeldin has won a £10,000 Arts Foundation award after being nominated by National Theatre director Rufus Norris.

Zeldin, an artist in residence at the National Theatre, was presented with a cheque for £10,000 at the ceremony in London for the 25th Arts Foundation Awards, which supports individual artists across all genres.

He won in the writing category, with other nominees including translator Sophie Hughes and author Wayne Holloway-Smith.

Winners across the other categories included glass-blower Jochen Holz, sculptor and artist Lydia Ourahmane, experimental composer Nathaniel Mann, and choreographer Alex Baczynski-Jenkins.

Norris, who won the Arts Foundation award in 2002, said: “The award made it the first year in my life when I earned more than £10,000 through theatre. I was 27, I was already a parent, and facing the long-term financial embarrassment that most artists face their whole life.

“I was going to continue being a theatre director whether I had any support or not, but [the award] has definitely had the most profound affect on my career, because it bought me time to follow my initiative and instinct.”

He added: “That kind of encouragement is needed more now than ever; if you take a glance at the sidelining of the arts in our education system, the obsession with STEM and EBacc, a system that increasingly erases practice in the face of theory, that subjugates innovation, self-expression and initiative, and this at a time when the country and world are profoundly unsettled, the need for creative thinking has never been higher.”

Zeldin said he was “very touched” to receive the award.

He told The Stage: “This will embolden me to stay true to what I’m trying to do. It means everything, Rufus Norris is my mentor and I’m honoured to be part of the National Theatre, where I’m artist in residence.”

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