Winners of The Stage Awards 2019 have been announced at the Bridge Theatre, London.
The Bush Theatre was named London Theatre of the Year, with judges citing the diverse programming at the venue with hit shows including An Adventure and Misty.
Regional Theatre of the Year was won by Nottingham Playhouse for its acclaimed season including superb productions of Wonderland, Sweet Charity and The Madness of George III starring Mark Gatiss.
The Barn Theatre, Cirencester won Fringe Theatre of the Year, having only opened in March 2018 but already gaining national attention for its acclaimed productions of One Minute and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
School of the Year went to Open Door which provides training and financial support for 18-25 year olds from low-income households. It is part-funded by actor Emilia Clarke, best known for playing Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. The project has received support from high-profile agents and casting directors, as well as partnering with leading drama schools including RADA and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer Sonia Friedman won Producer of the Year. In the past 12 months, Sonia Friedman Productions has produced the West End transfers of critically-acclaimed productions The Inheritance and The Jungle, as well as the Broadway transfers of The Ferryman and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sonia Friedman Productions previously won Producer of the Year 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Hijinx Theatre won the International Award for its international touring work which saw it visit 67 cities in 16 countries. It also led a groundbreaking collaboration in Africa, which involved taking four actors with Down’s syndrome to Lesotho to create a piece with local drama students.
Battersea Arts Centre was awarded Theatre Building of the Year, following the reopening of the Grand Hall after a devastating fire engulfed the venue in 2015. The architects Haworth Tompkins have left the scarred walls on display in recognition of the building’s past. Recently, Steve Tompkins of the architecture firm Haworth Tompkins was named the most influential figure in the performing arts in The Stage 100 2019, in association with Spektrix.
The Unsung Hero award was given to Pat Nelder from Theatr Clwyd, Mold. Nelder has worked at the venue since 1977 joining as a junior member in the LX department, but has since worked in various roles and is now the capital development associate. The theatre’s artistic director Tamara Harvey said: “Quietly, constantly and with unceasing humility, he is the very best of us.”
Mark Shenton, associate editor of The Stage and judging panel member, said:
“At a time when regional theatre is facing serious challenges, the resurgence of the Nottingham Playhouse under new artistic director Adam Penford is particular reason to rejoice. The arrival of the brand-new Barn Theatre in Cirencester, a town previously unserved by a producing theatre, is also a sign of new regional vitality.
“The changing face(s) of London’s most inspiring theatres, onstage and off, are acknowledged by new producing models at both the Bush and the New Diorama that are bringing on plenty of new talent. I am proud to be part of a the judging panel that has championed and celebrated their achievements, as well as the ongoing and unrivalled changes to the commercial West End environment made by Sonia Friedman.”