The Stage Awards

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The Stage Awards 2017 trophy. Photo credit: David Monteith-Hodge

The Stage Awards are theatre awards created by The Stage to recognise and celebrate theatrical achievements across the UK and internationally. Established in 2011, the awards recognise accomplishments by West End theatres, regional theatre, fringe theatres, producers, drama schools and more.[1] The awards ceremony is held annually on the final Friday of January at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London.

Notable winners include Sonia Friedman, who won the Producer of the Year award three times in a row between 2015 and 2017,[2] and Sheffield Theatres which has won Regional Theatre of the Year three times in 2013, 2014 and 2017.[3]

Originally known as The Stage 100 Awards, the ceremony was held at The Stage's New Year Party and set out to recognise parts of the theatre industry which weren't recognised at other awards.

Judging Process[edit]

Any performing arts organisation, regardless of size, is able to be nominated for The Stage Awards. An open nominations process allows any individual to nominate themselves or another organisation they admire. After nominations are submitted by the public, the judging panel consult 50 leading figures within the UK theatre industry, working across all sectors, and ask for their input for the long list. At this point, senior figures within The Stage's editorial team are also consulted. Finally, a judging panel meet to consider all submissions, choosing the shortlist and winners.[4]

The judging panel has included The Stage's current editor Alistair Smith, previous editor Brian Attwood, associate editor Mark Shenton, associate editor Lyn Gardner, theatre critic Aleks Sierz, theatre critic Susan Elkin, news editor Matt Hemley, reviews editor Natasha Tripney, critic Tim Bano, features editor Nick Clark, former Theatrical Management Association president AK Bennett Hunter, reporter Natalie Woolman.[5]

Awards Categories[edit]

When first established, the only categories were Regional Theatre of the Year, London Theatre of the Year, Fringe Theatre of the Year, Producer of the Year and School of the Year.

The Unsung Hero Award was added in 2012, to recognise individuals who had made a key contribution to the theatre industry out of the limelight. In its first year, the award was presented to 3 individuals: Edwin Shaw, Heather Miller and Frances Coyle.[6]

Two new categories were added for 2015: Theatre Building of the Year and the International Award.[7] The Theatre Building of the Year award can be given to any physical structure of space hosting theatrical performances. The International Award was set up to recognise achievements with an international element, including touring abroad or working in collaboration.

For 2017, two further categories were introduced: the Innovation Award and the Sustainability Award.[8] The first category aims to recognise new design, technical or creative developments in the sector, and the latter category celebrates environmental initiatives undertaken by performing arts organisations.[9]

Current categories at The Stage Awards:

  • Regional Theatre of the Year
  • London Theatre of the Year
  • Fringe Theatre of the Year
  • Theatre Building of the Year
  • Producer of the Year
  • School of the Year
  • International Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Sustainability Award
  • Unsung Hero

The Unsung Hero Award[edit]

First introduced in 2012, the award is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts industry. Edwin Shaw, Heather Miller and Frances Coyle were the inaugural winners of the award.

Edwin Shaw worked in the West End for more than 50 years, and served as box office manager at the London Palladium for over 35 years. Nominated by producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, they said: "not a day goes by" when producers from across Theatreland do not consult Shaw. Heather Miller won for her work as a chaperone on numerous productions in the West End and on tour including Oliver!, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She was nominated by casting director Jo Hawes, who worked with Miller for over 17 years. Frances Coyle was presented with the award for her work at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre, where she worked for over 40 years having joined the venue in 1967.[10]

In 2013, the Unsung Hero award was given to Anne McNulty and Chris Isherman. Anne McNulty was awarded for her 20-year career at the Donmar Warehouse as its casting director. Nominated by artistic director Josie Rourke, she was praised for unearthing talent including Tom Hiddleston and Lara Pulver.[11] Chris Isherman was presented with the Unsung Hero award for his long standing service as the theatre manager of the Duchess Theatre, London. Nominated by producer James Seabright, he was described as "one of the last of the ‘old school’ theatre managers” that still sported a dinner jacket and greeted every audience member with care and attention before every production."

Theatre consultant Andy Collier was presented with the Unsung Hero award posthumously in 2014.[12] The award was collected by his son Ben Collier.

The 2015 award was presented to Sue Nightingale, Birmingham Repertory Theatre's head of wardrobe for her extensive career and commitment to theatre outside of the limelight.[13]

Stage manager Roger Miller was named Unsung Hero at The Stage Awards 2016. He won the award for his work towards saving the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre.[14]

Ned Seago won the Unsung Hero award at The Stage Awards 2017. Seago has worked at the Old Vic, London for over 30 years with artistic director Matthew Warchus calling him "unfailingly sensitive, kind, discrete, loyal and supportive".[15]

At The Stage Awards 2018, the award was presented to interior designer Clare Ferraby. Ferraby is behind the interiors of more than 80 theatres including the London Palladium and Theatre Royal, Nottingham, as well as the refurbished Victoria Palace, home of Hamilton.[16]

Pat Nelder, capital development associate at Theatre Clwyd since 1977, was awarded the Unsung Hero in 2019. He joined the theatre as a junior member in the LX department, but has since worked in various roles and is now the capital development associate. The theatre's artistic director Tamara Harvey said: "Quietly, constantly and with unceasing humility, he is the very best of us."

Previous Winners[edit]

The Stage Awards 2011[17][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Northampton Royal and Derngate
London Theatre of the Year The Royal Court Theatre
Fringe Theatre of the Year Finborough Theatre, London[18]
Producer of the Year English Touring Theatre[19]
School of the Year Sylvia Young Theatre School

The Stage Awards 2012[20][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Chichester Festival Theatre
London Theatre of the Year Bush Theatre
Fringe Theatre of the Year Jermyn Street Theatre, London[21]
Producer of the Year National Theatre, London
School of the Year Musical Theatre Academy[22]
Unsung Hero Edwin Shaw, Heather Miller and Frances Coyle

The Stage Awards 2013[23][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Sheffield Theatres[24]
London Theatre of the Year Shakespeare's Globe
Fringe Theatre of the Year Union Theatre, London
Producer of the Year A Play, A Pie and A Pint[25]
School of the Year ALRA North
Unsung Hero Anne McNulty and Chris Isherman

The Stage Awards 2014[26][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Sheffield Theatres[27]
London Theatre of the Year Hampstead Theatres[28]
Fringe Theatre of the Year Southwark Playhouse, London[29]
Producer of the Year Michael Grandage Company
School of the Year National Youth Theatre
Unsung Hero Andy Collier

The Stage Awards 2015[30][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Nuffield Theatres, Southampton[31]
London Theatre of the Year Young Vic
Fringe Theatre of the Year Park Theatre, London
Theatre Building of the Year Liverpool Everyman[32] and Roundabout Theatre, Paines Plough[33]
Producer of the Year Sonia Friedman[34]
School of the Year Young Everyman Playhouse, Liverpool[35]
International Award Shakespeare's Globe, London
Unsung Hero Sue Nightingale

The Stage Awards 2016[36][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Royal Exchange, Manchester
London Theatre of the Year Almeida Theatre[37]
Fringe Theatre of the Year The Other Room, Cardiff
Theatre Building of the Year NT Future, London
Producer of the Year Sonia Friedman[38]
School of the Year Arts Educational Schools London[39]
International Award War Horse China[40]
Unsung Hero Roger Miller

The Stage Awards 2017[41][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Sheffield Theatres[42]
London Theatre of the Year Regent's Park Open Air Theatre[43]
Fringe Theatre of the Year New Diorama Theatre, London[44]
Theatre Building of the Year King's Cross Theatre
Producer of the Year Sonia Friedman Productions[45]
School of the Year Musical Theatre Academy
International Award Matthew Bourne's New Adventures[46]
Innovation Award Complicite[47]
Sustainability Award Tara Theatre, London[48]
Unsung Hero Ned Seago[49]

The Stage Awards 2018[50][edit]

Category Winner
Regional Theatre of the Year Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
London Theatre of the Year Almeida Theatre
Fringe Theatre of the Year Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Theatre Building of the Year Bridge Theatre, London
Producer of the Year Hull City of Culture
School of the Year Royal Exchange Young Company
International Award Imaginate for the Edinburgh International Children's Festival
Innovation Award The Everyman Company, Liverpool
Sustainability Award Arcola Theatre, London
Unsung Hero Clare Ferraby

The Stage Awards 2019[51][edit]

Category
Regional Theatre of the Year Nottingham Playhouse
London Theatre of the Year Bush Theatre
Fringe Theatre of the Year Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Theatre Building of the Year Battersea Arts Centre, London
Producer of the Year Sonia Friedman Productions
School of the Year Open Door, London and the East Midlands
International Award Hijinx Theatre, Cardiff
Innovation Award New Diorama Theatre, London for its programming model
Sustainability Award Lyric Hammersmith, London
Unsung Hero Pat Nelder

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Sonia Friedman scores Stage Awards hat-trick". www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
  3. ^ Desk, BWW News. "HARRY POTTER Producer And Sheffield Theatres In Awards Hat-trick at The Stage Awards". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
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