Young Vic and Sunny Afternoon win big at 2015 Olivier Awards

Young Vic's A View from the Bridge wins a hat-trick at the Olivier Awards (Credit: Jan Versweyveld)

Young Vic’s A View from the Bridge wins a hat-trick at the Olivier Awards (Credit: Jan Versweyveld)

This year’s Olivier Awards have seen The Young Vic take away four prizes, picking up the award for outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre for its production of Bull, and scoring a hat-trick for A View from the Bridge winning best revival, best director for Ivo van Hove and best actor for Mark Strong.

Accepting his award, Strong reflected on how A View from the Bridge had drawn in young audience members: ‘What has been amazing is the young people who came to see it, they all wanted to talk about what they were seeing. A 12-year-old boy asked me what is the purpose of theatre – I’ve never been in a production people wanted to talk about more.’

Kinks jukebox musical Sunny Afternoon dominated the musical categories, taking four out of five awards it was nominated for, winning: outstanding achievement in music, best actor in a supporting role in a musical for George Maguire, best actor in a musical for John Dagleish, and the title for best new musical.

Sunny Afternoon was the big musical winner of the evening (Credit: Alastair Muir)

Sunny Afternoon was the big musical winner of the evening (Credit: Alastair Muir)

Despite receiving 17 nominations between them, both Memphis the Musical and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical took home just two prizes each – best sound design and best theatre choreographer for Memphis, and Beautiful’s actresses taking best actress in a supporting role in a musical for Lorna Want and best actress in a musical for Katie Brayben.

Other highlights of the evening included the presentation of the best actress in a supporting role award to Angela Lansbury. Receiving her first Olivier Award aged 89 to a standing ovation, the actress said: ‘I’m creeping up to 90 and feeling like a million dollars because I’m in London.’ Lansbury’s role in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre is her first in the West End in 40 years. In celebration of his tenure as artistic director at the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey was presented with a special award by Judi Dench. Spacey is due to step down from his role this autumn, to be succeeded by Matthew Warchus.

Olivier Award winners 2015

Best revival
A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actor in a supporting role
Nathaniel Parker for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre

Best actress in a supporting role
Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre

Best entertainment and family
La Soiree at La Soiree Spiegeltent

Best lighting design
Howard Harrison for City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse

Best sound design
Gareth Owen for Memphis the Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Best costume design
Christopher Oram for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the Aldwych Theatre

Best set design
Es Devlin for The Nether at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Best new dance production
32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom at the Barbican;
Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo by Royal Swedish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells

Outstanding achievement in dance
Crystal Pite for her choreography in the productions of The Associates – A Picture Of You Falling, The Tempest Replica and Polaris at Sadler’s Wells

Best new play
King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actor
Mark Strong for A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best actress
Penelope Wilton for Taken At Midnight at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Audience award
Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Best new comedy
The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre

Best musical revival
City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse

Outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre
Bull at the Maria at the Young Vic

Best theatre choreographer
Sergio Trujillo for Memphis The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Best director
Ivo van Hove for A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre

Outstanding achievement in music
Ray Davies for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actor in a supporting role in a musical
George Maguire for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actress in a supporting role in a musical
Lorna Want for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best actor in a musical
John Dagleish for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best actress in a musical
Katie Brayben for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best new musical
Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Winners of The Mousetraps 2015 announced

The awards

The 2015 awards for The Mousetraps

The fourth annual edition of theatre awards ‘The Mousetraps’ took place on 22 March at the Charing Cross Theatre. The Mousetraps, voted for by young theatregoers aged 15 to 23, are organised by Mousetrap Theatre Projects: a theatre education charity widening access to performance for young people with limited means and support or special needs.

The awards honoured West End favourites such as Wicked, presented with the prize for show I’d sell my soul to be in; Billy Elliot, winning fascinating storyline; STOMP, picking up most dazzling choreography; and Les Misérables, named musical that blew my mind.

Other theatre favourites such as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time also came away with prizes, for best play and best design respectively. The Scottsboro Boys was presented with the award for best ensemble and The Book of Mormon won the title for show that split my sides.

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Martin Freeman accepting his award for best male performer at The Mousetraps (Credit: @ZareenWalker)

The Mousetraps’ acting awards went to two major stage and screen stars: Gemma Arterton, who was named best female performer for her lead role in Made in Dagenham, and Martin Freeman, who collected his title for best male performer for Richard III in person.

The ceremony, compered by members of Mousetrap’s Youth Forum, was opened by actor Samuel J Holmes. The presentation of awards was accompanied by performances from young people, featuring street dance, performance poetry, musical improvisation and Shakespearean monologues.

To see more from the 2015 Mousetraps, check out the Twitter hashtag #MousetrapAwards. For more information about Mousetrap Theatre Projects, visit www.mousetrap.org.uk.

Green room: Would a bad review put you off taking students to see a show?

In our Summer 1 issue of Teaching Drama, we’re asking our panellists:

 

We have a bonus blog-only exclusive answer for this issue: read the thoughts of Ed Boutler-Comer below. Do you agree or disagree with his view? Vote in our poll and voice your opinion.

Ed Boutler-Comer Green room

Read the views of the rest of our panellists in Summer 1 2014-15.

IdeasTap to close due to lack of funding

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Peter De Haan has announced the charity’s closure

Arts charity IdeasTap has announced it is to close in June after failing to secure future funding. IdeasTap’s chairman Peter De Haan said of the news: ‘We’ve worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to confirm future funding for our operations. It is with great sadness and reluctance that we have reached this decision.’

IdeasTap was founded during the financial crisis in 2008, aiming to assist unemployed young people by creating industry opportunities at leading arts organisations as well as providing access to funding, competitions, jobs, training and advice. The charity has accrued over 190,000 members and has awarded more than £2.3m worth of direct funding and accompanying expert mentoring to emerging artists.

Following IdeasTap’s closure on 2 June, the charity will honour ongoing commitments, such as showcasing four companies at the Edinburgh Fringe, until the end of the year; the IdeasTap website will also continue to operate as an archive, featuring a selection of members’ and partners’ projects as well as career guides and advice.

www.ideastap.com

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The full version of this news story features in Teaching Drama Summer 1 – out next week. Subscribe to the print or digital edition for more news, features and information. Single issues are also available in print and digital from just £2.49.

Miliband promises arts at the heart of Labour government

Ed Miliband has said that Labour will ‘put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the Labour government’s mission’ if the party gains power in this year’s general election. The Labour leader was speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre.

‘Britain will be a prouder, richer, stronger country when we give everybody the opportunity to develop their creativity, expand their horizons, enhance their talents and make a life for themselves in the arts and culture: old and young, rich and poor, north and south.’

Despite his backing of arts and culture, Miliband would not confirm that there would be no further cuts to the arts, saying: ‘I can’t make promises about what funding’s going to look like in the future.’

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

Ed Miliband speaking at the Creative Industries Federation at Battersea Arts Centre (Credit: Ian Watts)

In his speech, Miliband also quoted from the Warwick Commission’s report, and said: ‘If we care about the opportunities for the young, the findings of the Warwick Commission should worry us all.

‘The next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture: a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.’

In Miliband’s speech, Labour backed the Warwick Commission’s recommendation that schools will only be able to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Other policies announced during the speech included: strengthening creative education in schools by encouraging afterschool clubs to offer music, drama, dance, art, sport or other creative activities; building better career pathways into the arts and creative industries by increasing the number of apprenticeships; and widening free access to museums and galleries.

The MTA to relocate to Tottenham

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The MTA’s new home: The Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham

The MTA has announced that from July 2015 it will be taking up residence at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. From 2016, four of the college’s six shows a year will be performed in BGAC’s state-of-the-art theatre, with the showcase and original musical remaining at the Bridewell Theatre.

Annemarie Lewis Thomas, MTA’s principal and founder says: ‘We were very flattered to be approached by BGAC in the first place, then the more I found out about the programme over there, the synergy between the two organisations was rather compelling. Having spent our Christmas over there, and having had the most wonderful welcome from all the staff, we are really looking forward to the move and the opportunities that our new space will provide us with.’

The MTA’s Christmas pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, was performed to over 2,000 local residents, half of which were local children, as part of the college’s ‘pay what you can’ scheme.

Sarah Ebanja, chair of the arts centre, says: ‘The BGAC team are delighted that The MTA will make our arts centre complex their home. The MTA will bring an added vibrancy to what is already an artistic and creative hub. Their work will inspire and will enable Tottenham’s local residents, and young people in particular, to engage meaningfully with the performance arts.’

Annemarie Lewis Thomas features as TD spring 2’s opinion columnist. Read her thoughts on accreditation in the issue, out now.

Professional development day in Bristol – 1 March

The Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama are running a professional development day on ‘Drama in the Classroom’ in Bristol on 1 March, led by Philip Kingsley Jones from UWE.

Full details of the day can be found below. For more information on the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama, read TD‘s article in our current spring 2 issue.

STSD March

Number of drama and arts teachers falling in state schools

A report into the value of culture to contemporary British society has revealed that since 2010, there has been an 8% decline in the number of state school drama teachers, and a 4% decline in hours taught for the subject.

The year-long project, led by the University of Warwick, has resulted in the publication of Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth. Other key findings in the report include:

  • Alongside the decline of specialist drama teachers in England’s state schools, other creative subjects have also been affected: the number of design and technology teachers, as well as the number of hours taught, has fallen by 11%; and art and design teachers have reduced by 4% with a decline of 6% in teaching hours.
  • Young people from low-income families are least likely to engage with and appreciate the arts as part of the school curriculum or their home life; and least likely to be employed in the cultural and creative industries.
  • The costs related to engaging in extracurricular activities mean low-income families are often excluded from creative and cultural opportunities: 22% of parents in the higher social groups pay £500+ a year on extracurricular activities compared to 10% of parents in middle and lower groups.
Warwick

The report led by Warwick University is the result of a year-long project

The report makes a number of recommendations, several of which are aimed at Ofsted: the organisation should not award schools with an ‘outstanding’ status without evidence of a strong cultural and creative education, and should ensure – alongside the Department for Education – that young people up to the age of 16 receive a cultural education in order to encourage life-long engagement with the arts. They also recommend that Ofsted encourage Arts Council England’s aim to have 50% of schools achieving an ArtsMark award.

Other recommendations made include ensuring there is adequate careers advice available to those interested in pursuing a career in the cultural and creative industries, and the creation, by the government, of an arts and culture pupil premium fund and a national creative apprenticeship ascheme.

Commission member and Warwick education researcher Professor Jonothan Neelands said: ‘We are concerned that the educational system as a whole is not focusing on the future needs of the cultural and creative industries and the broader needs of a creative and successful UK. This needs to be addressed across our schools. However, we are particularly concerned that children born into low-income families with low levels of educational qualifications are the least likely to experience culture as part of their home education.

‘Without educational intervention we are in danger of allowing a two-tier creative and cultural ecosystem in which the most advantaged in social and economic terms are also the most advantaged in benefitting economically, socially and personally from the full range of experiences and value in that prevailing system.’

Vikki Heywood, chair of the Warwick commission report, said: ‘The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.’

Read the full report at www2.warwick.ac.uk/research/warwickcommission/futureculture/finalreport

Miss Saigon revival sweeps WhatsOnStage Awards

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Miss Saigon‘s revival has been awarded nine prizes at the WhatsOnStage Awards (credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Following its return to the West End 25 years after its London premiere, Miss Saigon came away as the big winner of the WhatsOnStage Awards, sweeping the board with nine prizes. The cast of the Sir Cameron Mackintosh hit stole the category for acting in a musical with awards for best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress.

Another of the evening’s top winners was also a revival: Donmar Warehouse’s Coriolanus, which scored a hat-trick with best play revival, best lighting design from Mark Henderson and best supporting actor in a play for Mark Gatiss.

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Billie Piper was named best actress in a play for the National Theatre’s Great Britain (Credit: Johan Persson)

Coriolanus lead Tom Hiddleston was beaten to the prize for best actor in a play by David Tennant for his performance in the RSC’s Richard II. Tennant’s former Doctor Who co-star Billie Piper fought off tough competition from Gillian Anderson and Imelda Staunton to be named best actress in a play for her turn as Paige Britain in the National Theatre’s phone-hacking play Great Britain.

West End newcomers Shakespeare in Love and Memphis the Musical were both recognised presented with best new play and best new musical respectively.

The 15th annual WhatsOnStage Awards, voted for by the public, took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The full list of WhatsOnStage Award winners can be found below:

Best actor in a play: David Tennant, Richard II
Best actress in a play: Billie Piper, Great Britain
Best actor in a musical: Jon Jon Briones, Miss Saigon
Best actress in a musical: Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon
Best supporting actor in a musical: Kwang-Ho Hong, Miss Saigon
Best supporting actress in a musical: Rachelle Ann Go, Miss Saigon
Best musical revival: Miss Saigon
Best direction: Laurence Connor, Miss Saigon
Best choreography: Bob Avian & Geoffrey Garratt, Miss Saigon
Best set design: Totie Driver & Matt Kinley, Miss Saigon
Best supporting actor in a play: Mark Gatiss, Coriolanus
Best play revival: Coriolanus
Best lighting design: Mark Henderson, Coriolanus
Best supporting actress in a play: Vanessa Kirby, A Streetcar Named Desire
Best new play: Shakespeare in Love
Best new musical: Memphis the Musical
Best off-West End production: Sweeney Todd, Twickenham Theatre
Best regional production: Oliver!, Sheffield Crucible
Best takeover in a role: Kerry Ellis, Wicked
Best West End Show: Miss Saigon

www.whatsonstage.com

TRH Masterclass Trust receives £17,258 donation

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Cheque presentation at The Waldorf Hilton London

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust has received a donation of £17,258 from The Waldorf Hilton London and the Hilton in the Community Foundation. The donation was presented at The Waldorf Hilton London on 2 February. In attendance was TRH’s chairman and Masterclass founder Arnold M. Crook who was joined by actress and Masterclass patron Elaine Page, who accepted the donation on behalf of the trust.

Paige said: ‘I’ve given three Masterclasses, with some fantastic young people from a wide range of backgrounds, over the past few years and each one has been an enjoyable and fun afternoon. Throughout my career I’ve learnt many things which I am very happy to pass on to the next generation. Even if just one piece of advice makes an impact on just one person, then it’s been worthwhile. Which is why I support the Masterclass Charity as it can make such a difference by inspiring and empowering the talent of the future.’

The Masterclass initiative, founded by Crook 15 years ago, aims to give theatre training opportunities to 14–30 year olds, as well as to provide careers advice and theatrical skills development.

Blayne George, TRH Masterclass Trust’s programme director, added: ‘It is only through the very generous support of organisations like the Waldorf Hilton London and the Hilton in the Community Foundation that Masterclass is able to continue to give young people free access to the professional world of theatre; inspiring and encouraging them to have a voice.’