Winners of The Stage Awards 2020 have been announced at London’s Royal Opera House.
- Theatres of the year named – London Theatre: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Regional Theatre: Sheffield Theatres and Fringe Theatre: Bunker Theatre, London
- ATG Productions wins Producer of the Year, praised for its Pinter at the Pinter season and undertaking the Ian McKellen On Stage tour
- Sheffield Theatres’ Life of Pi named the first ever winner of the Achievement in Technical Theatre award
- Leeds Playhouse wins Theatre Building of the Year, following its £15.8million redevelopment
- Selladoor Worldwide’s global expansion is recognised with International Award
- Theatre’s unsung hero revealed as front of house assistant and ‘kiosk queen’ Mary Joseph, celebrating her 25 years at the Almeida Theatre, London
Sheffield Theatres scooped two awards: Regional Theatre of the Year and Achievement in Technical Theatre. Judges praised Sheffield Theatres for producing an extraordinary season of work in 2019 but two major productions stood out – Standing at the Sky’s Edge, which won the UK Theatre award for Best Musical and a The Stage Debut Award for actor Adam Hugill, and Life of Pi, which received five-star reviews and four UK Theatre awards. Life of Pi will transfer to the West End later this year.
The Achievement in Technical Theatre award is a new category this year which recognises the terrific work that has been going on behind the scenes all over the country. Sheffield Theatres’ Life of Pi was celebrated again for its state-of-the-art projections which put audiences into the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and for creating a 44-pound tiger puppet that critics have called a worthy successor to War Horse.
London Theatre of the Year was won by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, praised for undertaking a £1 million facelift towards making its venue more accessible. This was all while still producing 14 shows in 2019, including the large scale Public Acts community project with the National Theatre.
The Bunker Theatre, London won Fringe Theatre of the Yearfor its commitment to giving talent from under-represented backgrounds a home, including the refugee-led company Borderline’s show Welcome to the UK.
ATG Productions was named Producer of the Year, following its critically acclaimed Pinter at the Pinter season and Ian McKellen On Stage which saw the great actor take his one-man show to 86 theatres across the UK before an 80-date run in the West End.
Taking home the Innovation Award was Artistic Directors of the Future for its front-footed approach to diversifying the industry’s boardrooms. Its board-shadowing initiative, which launched in Yorkshire in early 2019, is the first of its kind, and has subsequently expanded to the capital, with participants sitting in at leading theatre companies including Complicité, English Touring Theatre and Punchdrunk.
Leeds Playhouse was awarded Theatre Building of the Year, following its £15.8 million redevelopment, while Selladoor Productions won the International Award. Last year the latter staged 12 productions, including European premieres for Amélie and Little Miss Sunshine.
The Unsung Hero award was given to Mary Joseph from the Almeida Theatre. Joseph started working as a cleaner in 1995, but now works six days a week – mainly in the box office kiosk.
The Stage editor Alistair Smith said:
“Our 2020 winners reflect how theatre across the UK is both thriving and evolving. They balance local sensibilities with national, even international, ambitions. As ever, it’s a delight to celebrate all our winners and nominees and recognise the superb work they are doing to bring the very best theatre to audiences around the UK and beyond.”
The Stage associate editor Lyn Gardner added: “It may be challenging times for British theatre, but this year’s winners of The Stage Awards reflect the boldness and creativity of the sector and its depth and breadth across the country. They all demonstrate theatre’s ever-evolving ability to adapt and reinvent itself to the benefit of 21st century artists and audiences.”
The Stage Awards, in association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd, are decided by The Stage’s judging panel, following extensive consultation with leading figures in the theatre industry and a public nomination process.
Winners in full
Regional Theatre of the Year
London Theatre of the Year
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Fringe Theatre of the Year
The Bunker Theatre, London
Theatre Building of the Year
Producer of the Year
Artistic Directors of the Future for its work on diversifying the boards
Achievement in Technical Theatre
Sheffield Theatres for Life of Pi
Mary Joseph, front of house assistant at the Almeida Theatre