Curve, Leicester, National Youth Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse have all been revealed as the shortlist nominees of the 2023 ‘UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre’ at the UK Theatre Awards. The event is set to take place on 8 October at the Guildhall, where the winner will be announced.
The venue applications have been judged by an industry panel on how welcoming they are in the areas of ‘place’, ‘people’ and ‘programme’ – considering everything from their building design and commitment to accessibility to the outreach projects and interactions with theatregoers, staff, freelancers and the local community.
With applications from all over the UK, the three finalists were selected from a large number of submissions. The panel will now visit the venues in person to determine the overall winner. Visits often involve meeting staff, having a tour of the building, taking part in a scheduled activity, speaking to audience members or visiting the onsite café or restaurant.
For 30 years, the UK Theatre Awards have been the only nationwide awards dedicated to celebrating the outstanding achievements of theatre across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Further details of this year’s UK Theatre Awards will be announced in the lead up to the ceremony.
Hannah Essex, co-CEO of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said:
“Each year we enjoy celebrating the theatres that go above and beyond to provide accessible and inclusive hubs for audiences, casts and creatives. With a huge array of wonderful theatres to choose from, the finalists are three very different venues that stood out for unique reasons, but there is a common quality among them – their mission to give back to their local communities and supporters. The panel are very much looking forward to their visits in the coming weeks, and to crowning the overall winner at the UK Theatre Awards in October.”
Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, commented:
“All of us at Curve strive to make our theatre a welcoming, inclusive and accessible place for all. From audiences to artists, workshop leaders to community members and those just stepping inside to take a look around, we pride ourselves on offering a warm welcome. We truly believe everyone should be able to engage with theatre and all of us at Curve are delighted to have been recognised with this nomination.”
Paul Roseby, CEO & Artistic Director, National Youth Theatre added:
“Our award-winning venue champions live theatre and offers a creative home for thousands of young people. Open 7 days a week, we meet a diversity of needs creatively through our staff, programme and accessible spaces. I’m pleased that our efforts to welcome all have been recognised by the UK Theatre Awards.”
Adam Penford, Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse, said:
“We are thrilled to be selected as finalists. Our mission is for Nottingham Playhouse to be a space where everyone feels they belong. It’s what drives our staff to go above and beyond; our programming to be reflective of our city; our Participation programmes to be diverse and inclusive, and the experience for our audience to be second to none.”
About the UKs Most Welcoming Theatre finalists:
Curve, Leicester: Curve is one of the UK’s leading producing theatres. Each year over 750,000 people engage with Curve through performances and projects at our home in Leicester, across the UK and internationally. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, Curve has developed an international reputation for producing, programming and touring a bold and diverse programme of musicals, plays, new work, dance and opera. All of this is presented alongside a dynamic mix of community engagement, artist development and learning programmes, which firmly places audiences, artists and communities at the heart of everything they do.
National Youth Theatre: Hundreds of thousands of young people have been through the doors of the National Youth Theatre on the Holloway Road, where the world’s first youth theatre have nurtured new performing and backstage talent since 1987. In 2021 the building reopened following a major redevelopment led by DSDHA introducing a performance space for the first time, doubling the spaces for young people and significantly improving the building’s accessibility, sustainability, flexibility and welcome. The ambitious redevelopment, creating a National Creative Production House for young people to learn alongside professional rehearsals, has been recognised with multiple awards including a RIBA London award and an Architects’ Journal Retrofit Award for it’s environmental credentials.
Nottingham Playhouse: Nottingham Playhouse is one of the country’s leading producing theatres and creates a varied range of productions throughout the year, from timeless classics to innovative family shows and ambitious new commissions.
Established in 1948, Nottingham Playhouse is situated at the heart of the city and is a well-loved focal point for the community. The theatre stages are used to tell diverse stories that reflect the city. A wide-reaching participation programme of over 60 different activities creates life-changing experiences, and the next generation of theatre-makers in the East Midlands are supported through an extensive artist development programme, Amplify. Access and inclusivity are prioritised through multiple programmes and partnerships spanning work on stage, backstage and with audiences.
The Nottingham Playhouse mission is to create world-class theatre, that’s bold, thrilling and proudly made in Nottingham, in a space where everyone feels they belong.