The Awards, which celebrate the best in regional theatre, were also a resounding success this year for the Watermill Theatre in West Berkshire. Its production of Fiddler on the Roof took the prize for Best Musical while Rose Rage, Edward Hall and Roger Warren's adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy, was awarded Best Touring Production. The latter, a product of Hall's lauded all-male classical Propeller Company, culminated its tour with a highly acclaimed West End season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket this summer.
Elsewhere, an absent Corin Redgrave (for The Browning Version) beat stiff competition from Pete Postlethwaite (Scaramouche Jones) and Adrian Dunbar (Conversations on a Homecoming) to win Best Actor; Diana Quick triumphed as Best Actress in English Touring Theatre's Ghosts; [Mairead McKinley won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Shared Experience's The Clearing; Jimmy Chisholm won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Amadeus at Pitlochry; and Kneehigh Theatre's Emma Rice won Best Director for The Red Shoes, which has just finished its second London season at the Lyric Hammersmith.
Hosted by comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, last night's ceremony was attended by theatrical luminaries from across the country who, in addition to many of the nominees, included Nicholas Hytner, Sheila Hancock, Marcia Warren, Siobhan Redmond, Paterson Joseph and Nichola McAuliffe.
In judging the awards, more than 1,000 productions were seen by the panel of 150 regular theatregoers from across the country. Their recommendations were then by a panel of industry experts on behalf of the TMA. The 2002 judging year ran from 1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002.
The full list of nominations is as follows. Winners are in bold:
BEST ACTRESS: Amanda Donohoe for The Royal Exchange Theatre Company's Hedda Gabler; Kathryn Howden for Victory, Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Edinburgh; Diana Quick for English Touring Theatre's Ghosts.
BEST ACTOR: Adrian Dunbar for Conversations On A Homecoming at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Pete Postlethwaite for Scaramouche Jones, Rebbeck Penny and Bristol Old Vic on tour; Corin Redgrave for The Browning Version at Derby Playhouse.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Dorothy Atkinson for Eden End at West Yorkshire Playhouse; Mairead McKinley for Shared Experience Theatre's The Clearing on tour; Una McLean for Borderline Theatre's Perfect Days at The Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow and on tour.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Richard Attlee for Shared Experience Theatre's The Clearing on tour; Michael Begley for Hobson's Choice, produced by Jenny King for The Touring Consortium, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Theatre Royal, Plymouth on tour; Jimmy Chisholm for Amadeus at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.
BEST DIRECTOR: Lucy Bailey for Stairs To The Roof, a Chichester Festival Theatre production at the Minerva Theatre; Sean Holmes for Comedians, Oxford Stage Company by arrangement with David Aukin for Act Productions and in association with the Northcott Theatre, Exeter; Emma Rice} for Knee High Theatre's The Red Shoes on tour.
BEST DESIGNER: [Imogen Cloet for Noir, Northern Stage Ensemble and Live Theatre at Newcastle Playhouse; Simon Higlett for Elizabeth Rex at Birmingham Repertory Theatre produced in association with Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliott for Triumph Entertainment Ltd, and for Nuffield Theatre Southampton's Three Sisters in association with Theatre Royal Bath Productions on tour; Philip Whitcomb for Love In A Maze, a Watermill, West Berkshire Playhouse production.
BEST NEW PLAY: Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, Traverse Theatre Company in association with the National Theatre Studio on tour; Mother Clap's Molly House, a play with songs by Mark Ravenhill with music by Matthew Scott, National Theatre on tour; Tiny Dynamite by Abi Morgan, Paines Plough and Frantic Assembly with Contact, Manchester on tour.
BEST TOURING PRODUCTION: Rose Rage adapted from Shakespeare's Henry VI plays by Edward Hall and Roger Warren, a Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse production; Nuffield Theater Southampton's Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, translated by Ronald Hingley, presented in association with Theatre Royal Bath Productions; The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, English version by Tom Stoppard, Dundee Rep Theatre Company on tour.
BEST MUSICAL: Fiddler On The Roof, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, a Watermill, West Berkshire Playhouse production; Sheffield Theatre's High Society music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Arthur Kopit, additional lyrics by Susan Birkenhead; Rodgers and Hart's On Your Toes, presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger ltd on behalf of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatre Library of New York at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre.
BEST SHOW FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE: Company of Angels' Hannah And Hanna by John Retallack at the Battersea Arts Centre; Lifeboat by Nicola McCartney, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company in association with Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh on tour; Red, Red Shoes by Charles Way inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Red Shoes, a Unicorn production in association with The Place on tour.
MOST WELCOMING THEATRE: The Byre Theatre of St Andrew's; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre; Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA: Mark Elder and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for Euryanthe at Glyndebourne; Opera North for Albert Herring; Scottish Opera for Die Walküre and Siegfried.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE: Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks of English National Ballet, the country's leading classical partnership brilliantly illustrated this year; Christopher Hampson for Double Concerto, an outstanding new ballet in a fine year for repertory at English National Ballet; Royal Ballet Sinfonia for their playing of scores for ballet throughout the year.
THE STAGE AWARD FOR SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REGIONAL THEATRE: Mind the Gap theatre company (no nominations were presented in this field).
THE ECLIPSE AWARD: (new award for theatres combating racism - no nominations) Winner - Contact Theatre, Manchester; Special Commendations - Leicester Haymarket, Nottingham Playhouse, Tricycle Theatre (London), New Wolsey Theatre (Ipswich).
- by Terri Paddock