The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson has won the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in the 2018 Theatre category, while at the same ceremony Benedict Cumberbatch received the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award from actor Tom Hiddleston
Hosted by Melvyn Bragg at the Savoy Hotel in London, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards continued its legacy as the only awards ceremony in the world to celebrate the complete range of the arts, with categories for TV drama, classical music, theatre, comedy, dance, film, visual art, pop, literature and opera (Glyndebourne’s production of Hamlet won in the latter category).
The Jungle is set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which in 2015, became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people. A National Theatre and Young Vic co–production with Good Chance Theatre, The Jungle is directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin. It is currently in previews at the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End, following a sell-out run at the Young Vic in December 2017.
In order to transfer the production to the West End, the team behind The Jungle has completely reconfigured the Playhouse Theatre, where the traditional proscenium arch venue has undergone an unprecedented transformation to house Miriam Buether’s critically-acclaimed set design as seen at the Young Vic. Audiences are invited to sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp.
Elsewhere Outstanding Achievement Award winner Benedict Cumberbatch said:
“I am quite flabbergasted to be receiving this award especially when looking at past recipients. I am needless to say immensely grateful and humbled. The South Bank Show has always had a place in my heart as being an inspirational exploration of the best of culture so to be recognised in this way by Melvyn and the show is incredibly flattering and I am very humbled to be this year’s recipient. Many many thanks.”
Melvyn Bragg said: “This is as strong as any list we have ever had. The arts in the UK, a £92 billion industry, are second only to the US. Regrettably, government policy in cutting arts teaching out of so many schools fails to take this on board. This year’s awards celebrate what can happen when arts are encouraged from school-age onwards.”