The Stage has announced that The Stage Awards and The Stage 100 will return in 2021 to recognise organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in the industry’s response to the biggest crisis it has ever faced.
Some theatres have been closed for most of 2020, but that doesn’t mean the industry’s workforce has completely stopped. All over the UK, theatre professionals have shown remarkable acts of community, innovation and resilience in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to help keep the arts alive.
The Stage Awards will celebrate just how much theatre organisations have accomplished in 2020, despite the obvious challenges, from West End venues to small fringe theatres across the UK. Meanwhile, The Stage 100 will celebrate individuals who have gone above and beyond during 2020.
Due to the pandemic, there will be no physical awards ceremony this year. Winners for The Stage Awards will be announced on 7 January 2021, alongside The Stage 100 list.
Alistair Smith, Editor of The Stage, said: “This has been a year unlike any other in theatre’s history. We thought long and hard about whether it was appropriate to continue with our annual industry awards given the fact that for some organisations and individuals there has been little opportunity to stage much theatre in its traditional sense during 2020. However, we also believe it is important to celebrate the extraordinary efforts made by many in our industry to create work and keep theatre alive in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
“To that end, we’ve decided to continue with both The Stage Awards and The Stage 100 this year, but both will be slightly altered to reflect the changed times we live in.
“We will not have shortlists for the awards – only winners – and The Stage 100 will not be a ranked power list, but will instead be purely celebratory. In this way, we will recognise the individuals and organisations who have gone above and beyond to fight for the future of theatre during this most difficult of years.”
The award categories for 2021 are: Regional Theatre of the Year, London Theatre of the Year, Fringe Theatre of the Year, Theatre Building of the Year, Producer of the Year, International Award, Innovation Award and Achievement in Technical Theatre.
The Stage Awards launched in 2010 to recognise and celebrate the full scope of British theatre. Previous winners have included major national and international organisations such as the National Theatre and ATG Productions, but also companies from across the British Isles, touring companies, outreach and training initiatives, fringe and pub theatres, casting directors, stage managers, and more.
The Stage 100 has historically reflected the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts in the last 12 months. Previous figures claiming the number one spot have included actor Sir Ian McKellen (2020), architect Steve Tompkins (2019), Royal Court Theatre’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone (2018), commercial producer Sonia Friedman (2017) and Ambassador Theatre Group founders Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire (2016).
While The Stage’s judging panel and a body of industry experts will be free to recognise any/all theatre and performing arts organisations and practitioners, subscribers are invited to submit their own organisations for consideration. Any arts organisation – regardless of size – that is a subscriber to The Stage can put itself forward for consideration for The Stage Awards for free by submitting detailed entries to support their nomination. Nominations close on 27 November. The Stage will also be accepting nominations for individuals that subscribers believe should be considered for The Stage 100.
Following the public nominations process, at the end of November, all nominees are considered by The Stage’s judging panel, which can also submit its own nominations. Focusing on work since December 2019, judges will consider a variety of factors including artistic excellence, response to the Coronavirus and lockdown, innovative business practices, outreach and community work and financial resilience. The Stage Awards and The Stage 100 will be announced on 7 January 2021.