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Company recognised for ‘groundbreaking example of cross-gender casting’ at Tonic Awards

Rosalie Craig (centre) and the cast in Company. Photo: Tristram Kenton Rosalie Craig in Company. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Musical Company and Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of Emilia are among the winners of an awards ceremony celebrating women in theatre.

The third annual Tonic Awards, by Tonic Theatre, were announced at a ceremony held in the May Fair Hotel in London, hosted by Tracy Ann Oberman.

They celebrate the achievements of women, organisations, projects and productions that redefine the role of women in the performing arts, both on and off stage.

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia was recognised for bringing visibility to poet Emilia Bassano.

Other winners included Elliott and Harper Productions for West End musical Company, praised for being “a groundbreaking example of cross-gender casting in commercial musical theatre”, and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which is the largest award for women playwrights.

Fairview playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury wins 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Former Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly was recognised for her leadership of the Southbank Centre, in particular the creation of the Women of the World Festival to provide a platform for women and girls.

Artistic director of Deafinitely Theatre Paula Garfield, Alison Tickell of environmental arts charity Julie’s Bicycle and Open Clasp Theatre Company, which provides opportunity for marginalised women to engage with theatre, were also recognised.

An accolade was also given to three women who have been artistic directors of international dance festival Dance Umbrella; Val Bourne, Betsy Gregory and Emma Gladstone.

Lucy Kerbel, director of Tonic Theatre, said: “It is absolutely vital there is a platform to celebrate the integral part women play in this industry and we couldn’t be prouder that the Tonic Awards return this year to recognise and champion the work of these women, both on and off stage.

“We’ve seen great strides forward for women in our industry and wider society over the last few years and we hope to continue to support these positive changes.”

Presenters at the awards included chair of Arts Council England Nicholas Serota, deputy artistic director at the Royal Shakespeare Company Erica Whyman and Kiln Theatre artistic director Indhu Rubasingham.

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