NEWS: Finalists announced for new online theatre award OnComm

In Audio, Awards, Children's theatre, London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Online shows, Plays, Press Releases, Quotes by Press Releases

Since the start of the Covid pandemic closures in 2020, many independent, alternative and fringe theatre venues and companies across the UK and beyond responded to the challenges of lockdowns by taking their shows online – and OffWestEnd has responded to this whole new strand of theatre by launching a new award, the OnComm, for the best of this new stream of online theatre.

Over 350 submissions were received and nearly 150 OnComms awarded in 2020. All the OnComm awarded shows have been grouped into 13 categories and we can now announce the 50 Oncomm Award Finalists 2021. The winners will be announced at a special (virtual) ceremony on 21 February 2021, to be presented via Scenesaver.

The OnComm categories cover shows that were recorded or live streamed, that took advantage of new platforms such as Zoom, and that were immersive or interactive, or in some way innovative. Finalists also include audio shows, shows presented in a series and shows for young people, children & families.

The finalists include both recognised venues such as Royal Court Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Soho Theatre and Little Angel Theatre, as well as new companies like Threedumb and Digital Caravan Theatre.  They include not just well-known shows including ‘the Scottish play’ and The House Of Bernarda Alba but many newly written or devised pieces such as For Quality Purposes and Dream Catcher. They include innovative new work, such as Northern Comedy Theatre’s Doing series presented via Zoom, and Dante 0r Die’s User Not Found, a show presented via mobile phones.

One positive development in the crisis was that the explosion of online and streamed shows meant that shows from across the UK and beyond were available to the public across the country and internationally. The fact they were online meant that our OnComm assessors and judges had direct access and were able to consider these shows for the new OnComm awards.

Geoffrey Brown, director of OffWestEnd, said: “2020 has devastated live theatre, leaving many artists, theatres and companies in the dark, so it was fantastic to see so many companies, venues and creatives go online to develop and present new work, or enable audiences to enjoy some great work from the archives. The level of innovation in new work was really exciting, from the use of Zoom to imaginative immersive experiences.

“While we are all desperate for live theatre to return, these online shows prove theatre artists’ resilience and resourcefulness, and we are delighted to be able to announce the finalists across the 13 categories we have created for this unique new award.”

OnComm Finalists 2021

RECORDING PRE-LOCKDOWN (DIRECT – I.E. WITH LITTLE OR NO EDITING)

Going Viral, Daniel Bye
Hysteria, Spymonkey
Jane Clegg, Finborough Theatre
The House Of Bernarda Alba, Graeae

RECORDING PRE-LOCKDOWN (EDITED – I.E. WITH SIGNIFICANT EDITING)

Bubble, Theatre Uncut
Cyprus Avenue, Royal Court & Abbey Theatre
SeaWall, Simon Stephens
The Encounter, Complicité

RECORDING POST-LOCKDOWN (DIRECT – I.E. WITH LITTLE OR NO EDITING)

About 500, Simona Hughes
Breathe by Neil Bebber
This Evil Thing, Essential Theatre
Within, Threedumb Theatre

RECORDING POST-LOCKDOWN (EDITED – I.E. WITH SIGNIFICANT EDITING)

Birdsong Online, Original Theatre
Midnight Your Time, Donmar Warehouse
Rose, Ginger Quiff Media / Hope Mill Theatre
Wait For Me, Sam Cassidy

LIVE STREAMED (ORIGINALLY – MAY BE PRESENTED LATER AS A RECORDING)

Before After – A Musical Love Story, The Grey Area Theatre Company
Cupid’s Corner, Parade Stone
The Boss Of It All, New Perspectives / Soho Theatre
The Poltergeist, Southwark Playhouse

AUDIO

Contemporary Political Ethics (Or, How To Cheat), Traverse Theatre
Not So Quiet on the Welsh Front, Front Room Theatre Rockets and Blue Lights / Royal Exchange / Lockdown Theatre Festival
The Barren Author, Barnaby Eaton-Jones

PLATFORM BASED (PRESENTED USING A PLATFORM SUCH AS ZOOM)

Agent Venture, The Adventure Is Real
Alice, A Virtual Theme Park, Creation Theatre
Beige, MAGNA
Richard III, The Show Must Go Online

SERIES

15 Heroines: The Desert / The Labyrinth / The War, Jermyn St Theatre
Digital Caravan Theatre, Small Truth
Press Play, Popelei & Emma Blackman
Telling Tales, Muck + Rumble

IMMERSIVE/INTERACTIVE

Dream Catcher, Blue Moon
User Not Found, Dante or Die
Viper Squad, Sid Phoenix
Wind in the Willows, Guildford Shakespeare Co

INNOVATIVE

For Quality Purposes, Stan’s Internet Café
Snowflake: Visual EP, MPTheatricals
Truth to Power Café, Jeremy Goldstein & London Artists Projects
What A Carve Up!, Lawrence Batley Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre and The Barn Theatre

SHOWS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE 12+

Crime of the Century, Chickenshed Guantanamo
Boy, Half Moon Theatre
I, Cinna (the poet), Tim Crouch / Unicorn
North Country, Freedom Studios

SHOWS FOR CHILDREN

Michael Rosen’s Clever Cakes, Little Angel
Paper Aeroplane, Half Moon Theatre
The Twits, Unicorn Theatre
There’s a Bear on my Chair, Little Angel

FAMILY SHOWS

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chickenshed
Dream Catcher, Blue Moon Zoom
Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown, King’s Head Theatre / Charles Court Opera
The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington / Sleeping Trees

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Press Releases on Twitter
Press Releases
MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.