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Follies, The Ferryman and The Jungle to compete at South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Cast of Follies at the National Theatre. Photo: Tristram Kenton Cast of Follies at the National Theatre. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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The Ferryman, Follies and The Jungle will compete for the theatre prize at this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards, for which English National Ballet and Scottish Opera have also been nominated.

The theatre shortlist comprises Jez Butterworth’s play The Ferryman, which closed in the West End this month after a year-long run, the National Theatre’s Follies, and refugee play The Jungle, which ran in the West End and at the Young Vic.

The awards, now in their 22nd year, celebrate 12 categories across the arts, including theatre, comedy, dance and opera, as well as visual art, TV, pop and classical music.

The breakthrough award, featuring entries from each art form, includes a theatre nomination for writer and actor Monica Dolan, whose debut play The B*easts ran at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Bush Theatre in London, and earned her an Olivier nomination. It is also being developed for television.

The B*easts review at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh – ‘intentionally challenging’

Actor Alex Lawther is also recognised, for TV drama, as is dancer Dickson Mbi, opera singer Rachel Redmond and comedian Sophie Willan.

Russell Maliphant Company’s Maliphantworks, Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern at the Royal Ballet and Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring at English National Ballet are nominated in the dance category, while Scottish Opera’s Pelleas and Melisande, Hamlet at Glyndebourne and Albert Herring at the Grange Festival make up the opera shortlist.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London on July 1, hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

Bragg said the nominations showed how “rich and diverse the arts in this country are”, but warned they were under threat from declining commitment to culture in schools.

“A recent study of 1,200 secondary schools found that 90% had cut back on arts teachers, facilities and equipment. Since 2010, there has been a 28% drop in pupils taking arts GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of arts teachers being trained,” he said.

“This means the future of everything we stand for and everything we’re good at is being threatened.”

Sky Arts director Phil Edgar-Jones added: “With funding for the arts and arts education facing challenging times, Sky Arts’ work supporting artists and the creative industries is more important than ever. We are proud to host the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, which reflect the breadth and diversity of talent and voices in the creative industries.”

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