thu 22/03/2018

There are more theatre-goers than football-goers - arts awards defiant | reviews, news & interviews

There are more theatre-goers than football-goers - arts awards defiant

There are more theatre-goers than football-goers - arts awards defiant

Theatre Awards UK acclaim Sweeney Todd, Opera North and Akram Khan

Mano a mano: Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball fight for the TMA award in Sweeney Todd© Tristram Kenton

Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton and Aidan McArdle won the big acting prizes while Akram Khan and Opera North carried off the dance and opera gongs at the annual Theatrical Management Association awards - now called Theatre Awards UK. Held yesterday at the medieval Guildhall in the City of London, the awards highlight the best of theatre, dance and opera in Britain's touring theatres selected by panels of critics. They attracted a small red carpet of press photographers as eminences such as Howard Brenton, Michael Ball, Janie Dee, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, Timothy West and Prunella Scales arrived to join around 350 guests for the ceremonial lunch.

Despite the austerity now cloaking the arts, referred to in several speeches, two of the award-winners were created by innovative recent initiatives; a nationwide tour of The King and I was generated by Music and Lyrics Ltd, a new consortium of 15 theatres sharing costs, and won the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre: while Best Musical Production was declared The Go-Between, another co-production, this time between three northern theatres with the backing of Perfect Pitch, a not-for-profit enterprise to develop and support new musicals.

With 30 million theatre attendances a year in Britain, theatre-going outstripped football attendances

TMA president Rachel Tackley announced that with 30 million theatre attendances a year in Britain, theatre-going easily outstripped football attendances. Erica Whyman, artistic director of Northern Stage, who won an award as Theatre Manager of the Year, exhorted the nation's theatre even in such tough times "to prepare to be daring, and to change the way you think things are". Further encouragement came from John Dove, accepting the Best Touring Production gong (voted for by the public) for the Shakespeare's Globe's Anne Boleyn - "be proud of your work: everywhere around the world people say, we love what you do in England. Even if it's a recession we will thrive."

The well-loved husband and wife Timothy West and Prunella Scales were given a standing ovation as they were presented The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre by their son, Sam West, also an actor. He remarked that last week was Timothy West's 78th birthday - when he rang to wish him happy birthday, his father "was on his way out to do two shows in Richmond, next date Oxford. The previous year he spent his birthday on tour in Cape Town. The year before that he was at the Menier Chocolate Factory. My mother at the moment is doing her Queen Victoria tour in 100 cities, more than 200 venues, and every continent except Antarctica. When it comes to touring, these guys have put in the hours."

The awards were compered by Anneka Rice, and Clive Rowe and Jess Robinson sang medleys of songs from musicals as entertainment.

The judges for the theatre awards were Paul Allen, Dominic Cavendish, Mark Fisher, Lyn Gardner, theartsdesk's Sam Marlowe, Grania McFadden, chaired by TMA chief executive Julian Bird. The opera panel was Rupert Christiansen, George Hall and Anna Picard, chaired by Paul Ibell. The dance panel was theartsdesk's Ismene Brown, Donald Hutera and Jeanette Siddall, chaired by Roger Spence.

Sponsors of the 2012 awards are The Stage, Harbottle & Lewis, John Good Holbrook, Theatre Tokens, W&P Longreach and White Light.

Best Director

  • WINNER: Garry Hynes, for DruidMurphy, plays by Tom Murphy (Druid Theatre Company)
  • Joe Harmston for Strindberg's The Father (Belgrade Theatre)
  • Dominic Hall for Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape/Footfalls (Citizens Theatre)

Best Performance in a Play

  • WINNER: Henry Goodman for Brecht's Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Chichester Festival Theatre)
  • Leanne Best for The Match Box (Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse)
  • Tim Pigott-Smith for King Lear (West Yorkshire Playhouse)

Best Supporting Performance

Best New Play

  • WINNER: In the Next Room by Sarah Ruhl (Theatre Royal Bath)
  • Lungs by Duncan Macmillan (Sheffield Theatres/ Paines Plough)
  • South Downs by David Hare (Chichester Festival Theatre)

Best Performance in a Musical

Best Musical Production

  • WINNER: The Go-Between, West Yorkshire Playhouse/ Royal & Derngate Northampton/ Derby LIVE directed by Roger Haines
  • Company, Sheffield Theatres directed by Jonathan Munby
  • Sweeney Todd, Chichester Festival Theatre production by Jonathan Kent

Best design

  • WINNER: Amanda Stoodley for Manchester Lines (Library Theatre)
  • Gary McCann for The Little Prince (Lyric Theatre, Belfast)
  • Neil Warmington for Further than the Furthest Thing (Dundee Rep)

Achievement in Dance

Achievement in Opera

  • WINNER: Christopher Alden for his production of Norma for Opera North
  • Glyndebourne Festival Opera for Le nozze di Figaro
  • Oliver Mears for his leadership of Northern Ireland Opera

Best Show for Children and Young People

  • WINNER: The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean by Shona Reppe
  • Alice in Wonderland (New Vic, Newcastle)
  • Something Very Far Away (Unicorn Theatre)

Best Touring Production (via The Stage audience vote)

  • WINNER: Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn, Shakespeare's Globe production toured by English Touring Theatre
  • Reasons to be Cheerful, Graeae/ New Wolsey Theatre
  • The King and I, Curve Theatre, Leicester
  • Swallows and Amazons, Bristol Old Vic/ National Theatre
  • We are Three Sisters, Northern Broadsides

Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre:

  • WINNER: Music & Lyrics Limited (The King & I)
  • Graeae/ New Wolsey Theatre
  • Hull Truck Theatre

Most Welcoming Theatre

  • WINNER: New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
  • Chipping Norton Theatre
  • Curve Theatre, Leicester

Promotion of Diversity

  • WINNER: Graeae Theatre Company
  • Oldham Coliseum Theatre
  • Theatre Royal Stratford East

Achievement in Marketing

  • WINNER: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
  • Shakespeare's Globe
  • York Theatre Royal

Theatre Employee/Manager of the Year

  • WINNER: Graham Sutherland, head of production, Citizens Theatre
  • WINNER: Erica Whyman, artistic director and chief executive, Northern Stage
  • Ciaran McAuley, chief executive, Lyric Theatre, Belfast
  • Janthi Mills, general manager, Belgrade Theatre

The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre

  • Timothy West and Prunella Scales

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