The 2019 UK Theatre Awards winners were revealed yesterday evening (Sunday 27 October) in a lunchtime ceremony at London’s Guildhall.
The Awards were hosted by actor Jodie Prenger, and presenters included Denise Black, Lesley Joseph, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Zhangazha and Tracy Brabin MP.
It was a big day for Sheffield Theatres, whose acclaimed production of Life Of Pi won four awards; Best New Play, Best Director for Max Webster, Best Design and Best Performance in a Play for Hiran Abeysekera. The play, adapted by Lolita Chaktrabarti from the Yann Martel novel, is due to transfer to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre next year.
Another Sheffield Theatres show, Standing At The Sky’s Edge – a new musical about Sheffield with songs by Richard Hawley and directed by Robert Hastie – was awarded Best Musical Production.
Rebecca Trehearn won Best Performance in a Musical for her role in Nottingham Playhouse’s Sweet Charity, with Esh Alladi receiving the award for Best Supporting Performance for Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
Theatremaker Emma Rice was honoured with this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, in recognition of the unique, innovative and socially relevant work she has created during a 20-year career which has included tenures at Kneehigh, Shakespeare’s Globe and her new company Wise Children.
Collecting the award from designer and regular collaborator Vicki Mortimer, she said:
'Today feels like coming home; surrounded by theatre friends old and new, celebrating what it is to make work with and for communities, and recognising our power as outsiders, as radicals and as rebels [...] As others did for me, I promise to use all my strength, joy and experience to keep holding the doors wide open, I promise to pull down the ceilings and to keep defying those pesky unwritten rules that still seem to nag at our industry. If a rule is unjust, break it.'
Five new ‘offstage’ categories were introduced to the UK Theatre Awards this year, to reflect the changing theatre industry. Northern Ballet was awarded for Digital Innovation, York’s Pilot Theatre for Excellence in Touring, Colchester’s Mercury Theatre for Excellence in Inclusivity and Derby Theatre for Excellence in Arts Education, with Northern Stage winning the Workforce Award.
The UK Theatre Awards are sponsored by Harbottle & Lewis, Integro Entertainment & Sport, John Good, SeatGeek, Theatre Tokens and White Light.
FULL LIST OF UK THEATRE AWARDS WINNERS 2019
Best New Play
LIFE OF PI adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti from the novel by Yann Martel – a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Musical Production
STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE directed by Robert Hastie – a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Play Revival
EQUUS directed by Ned Bennett – an English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East production
Best Show for Children and Young People
BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL directed by Luke Sheppard – a Nuffield Southampton Theatres production in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Max Webster for LIFE OF PI – a Sheffield Theatres production
Nick Barnes, Finn Caldwell, Carolyn Downing, Andrzej Goulding, Tim Hatley and Tim Lutkin for LIFE OF PI – a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Performance in a Play
Hiran Abeysekera for LIFE OF PI – a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Performance in a Musical
Rebecca Trehearn for SWEET CHARITY – a Nottingham Playhouse production
Best Supporting Performance
Esh Alladi for HOBSON’S CHOICE – a Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester production
Achievement in Dance
Scottish Ballet – for the world premiere of Helen Pickett’s outstanding dance-theatre adaptation of THE CRUCIBLE
Achievement in Opera
Buxton International Festival at Buxton Opera House – for the world premiere of GEORGIANA
Workforce Award sponsored by Integro Entertainment & Sport
Excellence in Touring
Excellence in Inclusivity
Excellence in Arts Education
UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre sponsored by Theatre Tokens
Storyhouse - Chester