Michael Billington’s five-decade career will be honoured by the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, which is to name its best play prize after him.
The ceremony takes place on February 11 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where the first Michael Billington Best Play Award will be presented.
Billington leaves the Guardian this month, after 48 years as chief critic.
He said: “I am unbelievably chuffed, and deeply flattered, to have a Critics’ Circle Award named after me. I’m also thrilled that it is for best play since I’ve always passionately believed that new writing is the beating heart of theatre.”
The awards will be hosted by Critics’ Circle Drama section chairman Henry Hitchings and produced by Terri Paddock. Acceptance speeches will be streamed via Facebook Live on the day.
Since 1996 the awards have included the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer, in memory of the former Daily Mail critic. In 2016, the award for best new or revived musical was renamed the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical, in honour of the Hepple’s outstanding contribution to the Critics’ Circle.
Billington is being replaced at the Guardian by Arifa Akbar.