MacMillan & Grimaldi Biographies Win Book PrizesDate: 28 April 2010
The annual Theatre Book Prize has been awarded to Jann Parry's Different Drummer, a biography of the legendary ballet choreographer Kenneth MacMillan.
Announced by Sheila Hancock at the Grand Saloon on Drury Lane, Parry beat off competition from tomes including Andrew McConnell Stott's biography of the clown Grimaldi and Susie's Gilbert Opera for Everybody: The Story of the English National Opera.
The judging panel comprised actor Matthew Kelly, critic Mark Shenton and academic Jane Moody. Shenton said of the winner: “I don't think I read a more fascinating or more exhaustively researched volume all year … Biography can be an act of remarkable trust, and Deborah MacMillan's was rewarded with this candid, uncompromising, but loving portrait of a candid, uncompromising and complicated man.”
The Theatre Book Prize is run by the Society for Theatre Research and was first awarded in 1997 to encourage the writing and publication of books on British theatre history and practice.
Andrew McConnell Stott may have lost out on the Theatre Book Prize but The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi today picked up the third annual Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography.
Announced at a ceremony at the Garrick Club, this year's jury was actress Eileen Atkins, critic Susannah Clapp and last yeat's winner Michael Holroyd.
Commenting on Stott's win, Susannah Clapp said: “This brilliant prismatic book conjures up not simply a man – the man who gave us the notion of the sad clown – but the spirit of an age. More than that, it shows you acting in motion.”