Steve Tompkins, director of Haworth Tompkins, the architecture studio responsible for projects including many of UK theatre’s most high-profile building projects, has been named number one in The Stage 100 in association with Spektrix.
Tompkins has shot to the top of the list following the completion of two major projects in 2018 – Battersea Arts Centre and Bristol Old Vic – as well as his ongoing role in re-imagining many of the UK’s most prestigious theatres.
The architect was previously placed at number 23 in the 2018 list, but this year has outstripped well-known names such as Sonia Friedman (2), Andrew Lloyd Webber (3), Cameron Mackintosh (4) and the National Theatre’s Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger (5).
Tompkins’ work on theatres is prolific with previous projects including: London’s Royal Court, Young Vic, the Bush, National Theatre, the Bridge Theatre and the Liverpool Everyman. In 2019, he will begin work to transform the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Haworth Tompkins won the Stirling Prize in 2014 for work on the Liverpool Everyman – the first theatre building they created from scratch – and were the winner of The Stage Building of the Year Award in 2018 for the Bridge Theatre and in 2016 for work on the National Theatre.
Editor of The Stage, Alistair Smith said: “Steve Tompkins is not a name that will resonate with many theatregoers, but he has been responsible for a quiet revolution in the way that both artists and audiences experience theatre in the UK. We will look back on his achievements in re-imagining theatre buildings, their functions and forms, as a defining aspect of early 21st-century British theatre. In some ways, he is the successor to the great Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham.
“Tompkins’ approach is all about democratising theatregoing – not a surprise for an architect who began in social housing. He is literally and physically transforming British theatre and his legacy will be experienced by millions of theatregoers for years to come.”
Steve Tompkins said:
“I’m thrilled and slightly taken aback that Haworth Tompkins’ work has been highlighted so emphatically this year by our peers. Everyone who’s been involved with designing theatre buildings knows that individual credit is just shorthand for celebrating collective effort, so this recognition also belongs to the outstanding team of architects, clients, consultants and contractors who have brought our performing arts buildings into being, particularly my co-director and collaborator of 24 years, Roger Watts.
“Theatres are the places where individuals meet to affirm the things that we share in common. I hope our work can play a small role in reinforcing a civil society that all of us still want to be part of.”
New entries include in The Stage 100 include actor Ian McKellen (24); Stephen Daldry (28), director of The Jungle and The Inheritance; Jamie Lloyd (32), director of Pinter at the Pinter; performer Arinze Kene (49); Mamma Mia! and Tina the Musical director Phyllida Lloyd (57); Hamilton actor Giles Terera (87); and actor, singer and author Carrie Hope Fletcher (90).
High risers include: Chris Harper and Marianne Elliott for productions including Company (from 39 to 12), Royal Opera House’s senior management team following the venue’s redevelopment (from 46 to 18), lighting designer Paule Constable (89 to 27) following her work to overturn EU lighting regulations, Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts founders Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov (from 88 to 52)
For the first time, entries featuring a woman make up over half of the list – an increase of eight percentage points on last year (46% to 54%). However, the number of men in the list overall still outnumbers women (due to multiple people from one organisation being recognised per position). The number of top 20 entries featuring a woman has also risen from eight in 2018 to 10 in 2019.
The highest-placed new entry is Leonard Blavatnik and Danny Cohen, who bought and took over the running of Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2018 (9).
Kwame Kwei-Armah is the highest-placed black, Asian or minority ethnic theatre-maker to feature in the list. He is one of 13 BAME entries, up from 12 in 2018.