Sheffield Theatres dominate UK Theatre Awards 2013

This year's UK Theatre Awards ceremony took place at London's Guildhall

This year’s UK Theatre Awards ceremony took place at London’s Guildhall

The UK Theatre Awards took place at a lunchtime ceremony on 20 October at London’s Guildhall. The awards, which honour regional theatre productions from across the UK, are run by The Theatrical Management Association.

Sheffield Theatres came away with four prizes from this year’s awards for their productions Bull from Mike Bartlett (best new play), Tim Firth’s This is My Family (best musical production; best supporting performance) and The Full Monty (best touring production).

The three prizes for this year’s acting categories were all awarded to  women: Siân Phillips was awarded best supporting performance for This is My Family, Janie Dee came away with the prize for best performance in a musical for Hello, Dolly! and Cush Jumbo was given the title of best performance in a play for her role in A Doll’s House.

The award for best show for children and young people was shared between The Northern Stage’s production of The Borrowers and Mister Holgado from children-specialist theatre Unicorn.

The new addition to this year’s awards was the My Theatre Matters! prize for most welcoming theatre, which was awarded to Exeter’s 60-seat Bike Shed Theatre. The award’s shortlist comprised on 55,000 public votes cast. The winner was chosen by dividing the number of votes for each theatre by its capacity.

Simon Callow was presented with The Stage’s award for outstanding contribution to British theatre. TMA president Rachel Tackley said to The Stage of the tribute to Callow: ‘I am delighted that the TMA has recognised the prolific work of Simon, who has had a vital and lasting influence on theatre stages all over the country and been a great ambassador for British theatre during a long and illustrious career.’

Winners:

Best new playBull by Mike Bartlett (Sheffield Theatres)

Best performance in a play – Cush Jumbo, A Doll’s House (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester)

Best supporting performance – Siân Phillips, This is My Family (Sheffield Theatres)

Best musical productionThis is My Family (Sheffield Theatres)

Best performance in a musical – Janie Dee, Hello, Dolly! (Curve, Leicester)

Best show for children and young peopleThe Borrowers (Northern Stage, Newcastle); Mister Holgado (Unicorn Theatre)

Best director – Blanche McIntyre, The Seagull (Headlong; Nuffield Southampton; Derby Theatre)

Best designThe Accrington Pals, Jonathan Fensom and Charles Balfour (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester)

Best Touring ProductionThe Full Monty (Sheffield Theatres)

My Theatre Matters! UK’s most welcoming theatre – The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

The Stage award for outstanding contribution to British theatre – Simon Callow

For the full list of winners, visit www.tmauk.org.

Campaign launched in support of regional theatres

MTM_logo_redA campaign entitled My Theatre Matters! has been launched to encourage support of local theatres. The initiative is being led by Equity, The Stage and Theatrical Management Association (TMA).

The Stage editor Brian Attwood says: ‘Many theatres are facing reductions, and in some cases complete cuts, in support from their local authorities. It is the single biggest threat currently facing our industry.

‘While there are many enlightened councils out there who continue to support their local theatres, we fear there will also be many who see them as an easy target at a time of cuts. We need to show that theatres aren’t an easy target, but are public services that are really valued by their audiences.’

The campaign responds to continuing funding cuts by local authorities which are having a damaging effect on regional theatres around the country. In January 2013, theatres and museums in Sheffield were hit by cuts of 20% from the city council; Newcastle City Council announced that it would stop funding theatres and arts venues in March, instead instigating a fund worth only 50% of previous financial support; and in the same month, Westminster council confirmed that it would cut all funding to the arts by 2014/5.

The My Theatre Matters! campaign can be followed via Twitter (@theatre_matters), Facebook (www.facebook.com/mytheatrematters) and their website (www.mytheatrematters.com).

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