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Director John Retallack and Northern Broadsides’ Sue Andrews honoured at Olwen Wymark awards

Director John Retallack and Sue Andrews, the executive director of Northern Broadsides, are among the theatre figures honoured for their support of new writing at the annual Olwen Wymark awards.

Run by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and set up by playwright Mark Ravenhill, the Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Awards are given by writers who want to thank other individuals for their professional help over the past year.

Retallack, who founded the Actors Touring Company [1] and is a former director of the Oldham Coliseum and Oxford Stage Company, received his award from writer Zena Forster for his mentorship in developing her first stage play, The Fourth Dog.

Playwright Deborah McAndrew honoured Andrews for her continued support over the eight shows McAndrew has had produced by Northern Broadsides since 2004, including her 2017 adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Other winners included Ghislaine Kenyon, who was described as a “creative guardian angel” by playwright Diane Samuels for her support on the play Waltz with Me, and director and dramaturg Deirdre McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was nominated by Poppy Corbett for her support in creating a play for the MA acting course at Arts Educational Schools, where McLaughlin was course director.

The other recipients were playwright Nicola McCartney, actor Jon McKenna, theatremaker Angela Street, artistic director of the Salon:Collective Dominic Kelly, and husband and wife Emma Manton and Matthew Woodyatt.

Manton and Woodyatt were nominated by writer Jenifer Toksvig for their support over several years, but particularly on a recent project for refugee agency UNHCR.

Toksvig said: “I would not have become the someone I am without the collaboration, the support, the trust and belief, the invitations, and the love of Emma and Matt, and this award is a tiny acknowledgement of the enormous gratitude and love I have for them.”

David James, chair of the Writers’ Guild theatre committee and awards organiser, said the initiative intended to “make a statement of how important encouragement is”.

Now in its 13th year, the awards will be presented at an event at the Royal Court Theatre in London on February 2.