The Almeida’s production of Festen, now playing at the West End’s Lyric Theatre ahead of a planned Broadway transfer, added to its awards haul last night.

In one of the most hotly contested categories in this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the stage dramatisation, based on the 1997 Danish Dogme film of the same name, beat off stiff competition from another Almeida production, the UK premiere of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which also transferred to the West End.

Last night, playwright David Eldridge, who adapted Festen, and producer Marla Rubin joined members of the cast at a special curtain call presentation following the evening performance to accept the prize. The production has already won two Best Director trophies for Rufus Norris, at the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards, as well as an Evening Standard Best Designer trophy, collectively for set designer Ian MacNeil, lighting designer Jean Kalman and sound designer Paul Arditti. It has also been nominated for six Laurence Olivier Awards, announced on 20 February 2005, including Best New Play and Best Director.

Last night, Rubin thanked the entire creative team, the Almeida Theatre, West End co-producer Bill Kenwright and others who, along with Eldridge (who she bowed to), were involved in the play’s four-and-a-half year development. For fuller award comments from both Eldridge and Rubin, click here. Festen continues at the Lyric until 9 April 2005.

- by Terri Paddock

To view the full list of 2005 Theatregoers’ Choice Award winners & nominees
as well as further acceptance remarks & voting percentages, click here. And look out for more awards presentations over the coming days & weeks.

Playwright David Eldridge with producer Marla Rubin