Lyn Gardner will be recognised for her outstanding contribution to British theatre at this month’s UK Theatre Awards.
The theatre journalist and critic for the Guardian, who is also The Stage’s associate editor, is being celebrated for championing theatre across the UK throughout her career.
Gardner is the first journalist to receive the award, and follows in the footsteps of figures such as Ian McKellen, Matthew Bourne, Timothy West and Prunella Scales.
The UK Theatre Awards celebrate regional British theatre from the past year, with prizes for on and offstage work.
Responding to the news of her award, Gardner said she was “so touched and very humbled” and that the news was “totally unexpected”.
“It feels particularly important at a time when criticism in broadsheet newspapers is under siege and facing cuts, and when the theatre industry itself faces significant challenges in terms of local authority funding and future income streams, that [the award] is recognising the importance of expert, high-quality criticism and arts journalism.
“I hope that in my own small way I have made a contribution to keeping the conversation around theatre – particularly in the regions, where too often great work both off stage and on goes unsung – alive and kicking, celebrating all the things it does brilliantly and all the things it is trying to do better.”
Gardner will collect the accolade at the UK Theatre Awards ceremony in London on October 15.
This year, the awards will be presented by Olivier award-winner Sharon D Clarke, who is also nominated in the musical category for her performance in Caroline, Or Change at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Other nominated productions include Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Sheffield Theatres and Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange.
It is also the first year in the awards’ history that all shortlisted writers for best new play are women.