- Four wins for Sheffield Theatres’ Life Of Pi including Best New Play and Best Director
- Performance accolades for Rebecca Trehearn, Hiran Abeysekera and Esh Alladi
- Emma Rice honoured with Outstanding Contribution award
- Storyhouse in Chester crowned UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre
The 2019 UK Theatre Awards winners were revealed today (Sunday 27 October) in a lunchtime ceremony at London’s Guildhall.
The Awards were hosted by actor Jodie Prenger, and presenters included Denise Black, Lesley Joseph, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Zhangazha and Tracy Brabin MP.
It was a big day for Sheffield Theatres, whose acclaimed production of Life Of Pi won four awards; Best New Play, Best Director for Max Webster, Best Design and Best Performance in a Play for Hiran Abeysekera. The play, adapted by Lolita Chaktrabarti from the Yann Martel novel, is due to transfer to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre next year.
Another Sheffield Theatres show, Standing At The Sky’s Edge – a new musical about Sheffield with songs by Richard Hawley and directed by Robert Hastie – was awarded Best Musical Production.
Rebecca Trehearn won Best Performance in a Musical for her role in Nottingham Playhouse’s Sweet Charity, with Esh Alladi receiving the award for Best Supporting Performance for Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
Theatremaker Emma Rice was honoured with this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, in recognition of the unique, innovative and socially relevant work she has created during a 20-year career which has included tenures at Kneehigh, Shakespeare’s Globe and her new company Wise Children.
Collecting the award from designer and regular collaborator Vicki Mortimer, she said:
'Today feels like coming home; surrounded by theatre friends old and new, celebrating what it is to make work with and for communities, and recognising our power as outsiders, as radicals and as rebels [...] As others did for me, I promise to use all my strength, joy and experience to keep holding the doors wide open, I promise to pull down the ceilings and to keep defying those pesky unwritten rules that still seem to nag at our industry. If a rule is unjust, break it.'
Five new ‘offstage’ categories were introduced to the UK Theatre Awards this year, to reflect the changing theatre industry. Northern Ballet was awarded for Digital Innovation, York’s Pilot Theatre for Excellence in Touring, Colchester’s Mercury Theatre for Excellence in Inclusivity and Derby Theatre for Excellence in Arts Education, with Northern Stage winning the Workforce Award.
The UK Theatre Awards are sponsored by Harbottle & Lewis, Integro Entertainment & Sport, John Good, SeatGeek, Theatre Tokens and White Light.
Date Published: 27 October 2019