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.’


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

TMA to help support local authorities

A new scheme has been launched by the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) to help local authorities sustain theatre provisions. TMA will provide advice on reducing costs and boosting income and link up organisations facing similar challenges.

Chief executive of TMA, Julian Bird said: ‘We have started to gather a database of good practice all around the UK and will happily signpost authorities to other organisations facing similar challenges so that they can find out what is working and what isn’t.’

Philip Bernays, TMA council member and chief executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, revealed that last year savings were made of around £164,000  through communication and collaboration between 10 different organisations. He said: ‘By taking new approaches to procurement, all organisations are making major savings on their insurance costs. We have proved that there are ways of sustaining quality services by working collectively to save money.’

TMA will approach industry bodies for local government to offer their support. Funding has become one of the most pressing issues  facing theatres as local authorities face making huge cuts to their budgets.

President of TMA, Rachel Tackley said: ‘We that know Local Authorities are under enormous financial pressure but there is a difference between looking to make management changes that will lead to greater value for investment and making un-strategic cuts that threaten community assets. We applaud Councils such as Coventry and Bristol that are safeguarding arts funding because they understand the value of theatre in their communities, but other authorities are also showing strong leadership by supporting arts organisations through a managed period of change. In other places the sector is coming together to work out new ways of reducing back office costs and increasing earned income.’

For more information visit