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Nicholas Hytner’s new Bridge Theatre among winners of The Stage Awards 2018

Nick Starr and Nicholas Hytner. Photo: Helen Maybanks Nick Starr and Nicholas Hytner. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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London’s newest commercial theatre and the interior designer behind more than 80 venues are among the winners of The Stage Awards 2018, in association with Integro Insurance Brokers.

The 900-seat Bridge Theatre, created by former National Theatre bosses Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, opened in October 2017 as the first commercial theatre of scale to be built in London in four decades. It won in the theatre building of the year category, while interior designer Clare Ferraby was named The Stage’s Unsung Hero for 2018.

Ferraby is behind the interiors of more than 80 theatres including the London Palladium and Theatre Royal, Nottingham, as well as the refurbished Victoria Palace, home of Hamilton.

Cameron Mackintosh Ltd managing director Nicholas Allott said of Ferraby: “Two major strokes in the past couple of years have not prevented her from usually being found at the top of many a ladder, sometimes in the dark, shouting instructions to a team of painters. She’s amazing.”

Other winners included the Almeida, which beat the Barbican and the National Theatre to win London theatre of the year. It was praised for work including Robert Icke’s productions of Mary Stuart and Hamlet, starring Andrew Scott, and James Graham’s Ink.

The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff was named regional theatre of the year, in recognition for its artistic programme including Killology and The Cherry Orchard, as well as its efforts to nurture Welsh playwrights.

It was nominated alongside Birmingham Hippodrome and Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

The Arcola Theatre in east London won in the Sustainability category, which was first awarded in 2017 alongside the Innovation award, which this year was won by the Liverpool Everyman’s rep company.

That company launched the careers of actors including Julie Walters and Pete Postlethwaite but was disbanded 25 years ago. It was revived in 2017 by current artistic director Gemma Bodinetz.

The Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester was named fringe theatre of the year, after being nominated for the second year running, while Hull City of Culture was celebrated as producer of the year.

The Royal Exchange’s Young Company won school of the year, while Imaginate for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival was celebrated in the international category.

Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage, said: “We have a wonderfully eclectic selection of winners – from the return of repertory theatre in Liverpool to a children’s festival in Edinburgh, to one of the UK’s most talented, specialist craftspeople in Clare Ferraby.

“I’m also delighted that the awards have such a wide geographical spread – Manchester, Hull, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Liverpool are all represented, as well as London.”

The Stage Awards were presented at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on January 26.

See the winners in full here

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