|Image by Karl Andre|
The Railway Children: Steaming to Success!
Date: 2 March 2011
York Theatre Royal’s production of The Railway Children is carrying the flag for Northern theatre with a win at the prestigious Whatsonstage awards, and is now preparing for a trip across the pond to run at Toronto’s Railway Heritage Museum, Canada.
The Whatsonstage awards, now in their 11th year, are the only major UK theatre awards that are decided by public vote. York Theatre Royal’s production of The Railway Children was shortlisted for two awards, ‘Best Set Design’ and ‘Theatre Event of the Year’, and came away with award for Best Set Design.
The York Theatre Royal production (in association with The Touring Consortium, Welcome to Yorkshire and the National Railway Museum) beat off stiff competition from National Theatre, Royal Court and top West End theatres for their innovative design. The set is unique in that it sits 1000 audience members on either side of railway tracks, allowing the 70 tonne Stirling Single steam train to make its star appearance within the production. Joanna Scotcher who designed The Railway Children set was proud to be recognised not only by the industry, but by the theatre audiences who had voted for her work.
The production has been a huge success in the UK since its first run in 2008 at the National Railway Museum in York, with box office sales increasing by an impressive 9.2% the following year. These successes led to the production relocating to Waterloo, London and from this international recognition which will see the production transfer to Canada in a purpose built 1000 seat theatre.
Damian Cruden, Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal and director of The Railway Children will be flying out to Toronto to direct the show with a Canadian cast. Liz Wilson, Chief Executive at the theatre says, “This is a huge achievement for York Theatre Royal and something for everyone who has worked on the project to feel immensely proud. Successfully transferring a regional production to London has allowed us to raise the profile of the Theatre Royal and Yorkshire. We look forward to flying the flag for British theatre and show the world that our regional theatres can have just as big an impact on the arts as our London counterparts”.
Over the past three years The Railway Children has picked up a White Rose Award for Tourism, was the regional winners for the York Tourism Awards for Excellence and won Silver in the Enjoy England awards for Best Tourism Experience, and has too now been honoured with a Whatsonstage award. The show is also nominated for two Olivier Awards; ‘Best Sound Design’ and ‘Best Entertainment’ which will be announced and broadcast on the BBC on the 13 March.
- by Kirsty Hulse
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