UK Theatre has this week announced the winners of the 2014 UK Theatre Awards – the only nationwide awards to honour creative excellence and the outstanding achievement seen on and off stage throughout the UK.
And the industry took time out to honour the work and achievements of Donald Sinden who died last month.
Sir Donald was posthumously given the 2014 Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts in recognition of his illustrious eight decade career on stage and screen.
Julian Bird, chief executive of UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre, told a star-studded audience at London’s historic Guildhall: “The geographical diversity of this year’s winners reflects the considerable breadth of talent on offer across the whole of the UK.
“What makes the UK Theatre Awards particularly unique is
that they not only celebrate the achievements of British theatre-makers and performers, but also the venues and their teams’ considerable contributions to the theatre industry.”
Several winning plays commemorate the centenary of the First World War, with Best New Play going to Deborah McAndrew’s An August Bank Holiday Lark , which explores the impact of WWI on a rural community in East Lancashire.
Best Musical Production is awarded to National Youth Music Theatre’s Brass, the moving wartime story of an amateur brass band from Leeds.
Best Design winner Mametz was inspired by one of the War’s bloodiest conflicts – the Battle of Mametz Wood, in which 4,000 of the 38th Welsh Division were killed or wounded.
The 2014 UK Theatre Awards also recognise achievements by the next generation of creative talent.
Jamie Parker won Best Performance In A Musical for Guys And Dolls; Duncan Macmillan and Robert Icke share the Best Director Award for 1984; Jon Bausor receives Best Design for Mametz and Jenna Augen takes Best Supporting Performance for Bad Jews.
James Grieve’s production of Translations which was co-produced by English Touring Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston, is crowned Best Touring Production.
Best Performance in a Play went to Patrick O’Kane for his role in Quietly, for which he was also recognised in The 2014 Stage Awards for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The inaugural £150,000 Clothworkers’ Award was given to Theatre Royal Plymouth, as part of the Foundation’s new five year £1.25 million programme to support the dramatic arts.
The award can be used for anything from capital works to sponsoring a touring production; it must be used for a specific purpose and may not be added to the theatre’s general funds.
A different region in England will be selected each year, beginning with the South West in 2014.
In the awards for off-stage excellence, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse wins both Achievement in Marketing and Promotion of Diversity.
Hedda Beeby of the Watermill Theatre is Theatre Employee/Manager of the Year.
The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre was shared by two London venues, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe.
A full list of winners is available online at www.uktheatre.org/awards