Kristin Scott Thomas, pictured Electra (Credit: Johan Persson)
The 2015 New Year honours list has recognised a range of individuals holding performing, artistic and administrative roles in the theatre and stage sector.
Actress Kristin Scott Thomas, who starred in The Old Vic’s Electra last year, has been made a dame for her services to drama. Stage and screen actors Sheridan Smith and James Corden have both been awarded OBEs. Actress and writer Meera Syal, most recently seen performing in the National Theatre’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, has been awarded a CBE for services to drama and literature.
Leicester Theatre Trust’s Paul Kerryson (Credit: Paul Adams)
Artistic director of Leicester Theatre Trust Paul Kerryson, also outgoing artistic director of Leicester’s Curve, has been awarded an MBE for his services to theatre in Leicester. Also being honoured with an MBE is Graeme Phillips, Liverpool’s Unity Theatre artistic director who is stepping down from the role after more than three decades; he is being recognised for his services to the arts in Liverpool. Founder and artistic director of Northern Broadsides Barrie Rutter has also been awarded for his services to drama with an OBE.
Stage designer Es Devlin (Credit: David Ellis)
Design talents of the theatre world have also been acknowledged in this year’s honours: stage designer Es Devlin – whose recent work includes I Can’t Sing! at the Palladium, American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre and the 2014 Olivier Award-winning Chimerica – has been presented with an OBE for services to stage and set design; and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s associate designer Tom Piper has been awarded an MBE for services to theatre, and as well as for services to First World War commemorations, for his part in the poppies installation at the Tower of London.
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A grant of £200,000 has been given to the National Youth Theatre (NYT) by the Arts Council to ensure the charity’s future is secure. NYT has struggled to meet this year’s fundraising targets like many theatre companies and arts organisations.
An Arts Council spokesperson said: ‘NYT has seen unprecedented growth in the last year, but unfortunately this has not been matched by its income, resulting in some financial difficulties for the charity.’
‘In recognition of the excellence of the work and importance of the NYT both to young people and the theatre sector as a whole, we have awarded a grant of £200,000 to enable it to meet current financial commitments.’
The Arts Council made it clear that this ‘extraordinary grant’ would be ‘conditional’, based on the changes that would need to be made to NYT’s operation to make it financially sustainable.
The National Youth Theatre was established in 1956 and claims that it was the ‘first youth theatre in the world’. Alumni include Helen Mirren, Colin Firth and Daniel Craig.
A spokesman for NYT said: ‘NYT, like many arts charities, is operating in a challenging economic climate and is currently experiencing some financial constraints. The Board and management are working closely with NYT’s major funders, including Arts Council England, to resolve these issues.’
The spokesman also noted that any students involved in any NYT activities this summer had no reason for concern about the developments: ‘National Youth Theatre’s summer acting and technical courses will not be affected by the current situation in any way. We’re looking forward to welcoming 500 new talented young people, from across the country, into our company this summer.’
The Prince of Wales Theatre played host to the 2012 Whatsonstage Awards on 19 February. The awards were hosted by former Legally Blonde The Musical star Sheridan Smith, QI panellist Alan Davies and comedian Jenny Eclair.
Matilida The Musical was the big winner of the evening, taking away four awards, including best new musical. Lyricist Tim Minchin was also named as The Dewynters London Newcomer of the Year. Teaching Drama magazine’s former cover star Bertie Carvel was nominated for best actor in a musical for his role as Miss Trunchbull, but was beaten to the award by former Coronation Street actor Richard Fleeshman for Ghost The Musical.
The National Theatre were successful in securing a number of awards for its productions for the past season. Artistic director for this summer’s Olympic Games, Danny Boyle, was named best director for Frankenstein. Catherine Tate was named best supporting actress for Season’s Greetings, and One Man, Two Guvnors came away with best new comedy, best supporting actor for Oliver Chris and best actor for James Corden. The hit play will transfer to Broadway in April.
Smaller scale productions were also honoured with The Tricycle’s timely production of The Riots awarded best off-West End play. Ben Brown was won best new play for Three Days in May at Trafalgar Studios.
Whatsonstage claim that they are ‘the only major prize-giving event for the theatre industry voted for purely by the ticket-buying public.’ This year they estimated that 70,000 people voted for the prizes.
For the full list of winners visit Whatsonstage Awards.