At a ceremony today at The Savoy, Sonia Friedman Productions together with Angelica Films received the Theatre Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021, for their film of Sonia Friedman Productions’ critically acclaimed production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in a new adaptation by Conor McPherson, directed by Ian Rickson.
Uncle Vanya originally opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 14 January 2020, and was due to complete its sell-out run on 2 May, but was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, closing on 16 March when theatres across the UK were shut down. The production had received Olivier nominations for Toby Jones (Best Actor Award), Ian Rickson (Best Director Award), Bruno Poet (Best Lighting Design Award) and Rae Smith (Best Set Design Award).
Sonia Friedman said today, “When lockdown happened, we lost the remainder of the run of Ian Rickson’s glorious production of Uncle Vanya, in a new adaptation by Conor McPherson. The production had such an impact on audiences, that we were determined it would have a future life, and together with our partners at Angelica Films and the BBC we were able, in the midst of strict lockdown, to make a film of it for cinema and television.
“This was only made possible by our superlative cast, creative team and crew, and the commitment of the theatre production’s investors who enabled us to take this step.
“The production lost nothing of its power on film, with Ross MacGibbon’s screen direction enabling Ian’s and my vision so beautifully and profoundly. We are utterly thrilled and grateful to the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for recognising the film of Uncle Vanya in the theatre category – this year has seen a close collaboration between theatre and film and Uncle Vanya demonstrates how the two worlds can collaborate and enhance each other in new ways. This award is testament to my team at SFP, and especially Associate Producer Charlie Bath and General Manager Simon Woolley, whose extraordinary dedication and hard work at such a difficult time for theatre, produced a piece of work that will endure.”
Uncle Vanya was filmed on stage under strict covid protocols at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the middle of 2020. The new film version of the production had a cinematic release ahead of being broadcast on BBC Four, making it the first UK stage production closed by the Coronavirus pandemic to have been filmed and produced for the screen. The film was a sumptuous re-interpretation of Ian Rickson’s stage production, marrying the intimacy of film with the electricity of live performance.
The film reunited nearly all of the original cast of the production - Toby Jones (Vanya), Richard Armitage (Astrov), Rosalind Eleazar (Yelena), Aimee Lou Wood (Sonya), Anna Calder-Marshall (Nana), Dearbhla Molloy (Grandmaman), Peter Wight (Telegin), and joining them for the filmed version, Roger Allam, taking over the role of Professor Serebryakov from Ciarán Hinds.
For encore screenings: www.unclevanyacinema.com
A Sonia Friedman Productions/Angelica Films co-production
in association with BBC
By Anton Chekhov
In a new adaptation by Conor McPherson
Directed by Ian Rickson
Designer: Rae Smith; Lighting Designer: Bruno Poet; Composer: Stephen Warbeck
Sound Designer: Ian Dickinson; Casting Director: Amy Ball CDG
Directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon