At a star-studded event held at the Savoy Hotel last night(Thursday 27 January), the winners were announced for the ninth annual South Bank Show Awards, which honours the UK’s creative talent across a wide range of the arts (See News, 9 Dec 2004). From the world of theatre, the National's production of The History Boys and director Josette Bushell-Mingo (pictured) were singled out.

The History Boys won the prize in the Theatre category, where the world premiere of Alan Bennett’s play fought off competition from the Almeida’s stage adaptation of Festen, now playing at the West End’s Lyric Theatre; and Sheffield Crucible’s revival of Don Carlos, which stars Derek Jacobi and has now transferred to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre (see News 5th Nov 2004).

The Arts Council England Decibel Award was scooped by actress/director Josette Bushell-Mingo, whose productions last year included Simply Heavenly and Two Step as part of PUSH 04, a three-week celebration of Black-led performing arts of which Bushell Mingo is the artistic director.

Ben Whishaw was nominated for the Breakthrough Award, in association with The Times newspaper, which recognises rising British talent, for his performance in the title role of Trevor Nunn’s Hamlet at the Old Vic, but he was pipped to the post by film director Amma Asante.

Amongst the many celebrities who attended the event were: The Libertines, Jamie Cullum, Ronnie Wood, Lee Evans, Tracey Emin, Jeremy Irons, Brenda Blethyn, Brian Cox, PD James, Rhys Ifans, Jonathan Pryce, Rob Brydon, Michael Sheen, Richard Griffiths, Janet Street Porter, James Nesbitt, Germaine Greer, Matt Lucas, David Walliams and June Sarpong.

The ceremony will be aired, as part of the ITV1 arts programme, this Sunday, 30 January 2005.

- by Hannah Kennedy