Patrick Stewart’s title turn in Chichester Festival Theatre’s “Macbeth of a lifetime”, now transferred to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, won the prize for Best Performance in a Play in this year’s TMA Awards, the only nationwide awards for regional theatre (See News, 1 Sep 2007). The awards were announced last night (21 October 2007) at a ceremony held at London’s Hampstead Theatre.

Amongst the other big-name TMA winners are Henry Goodman and Matthew Bourne. Goodman’s Tevye in Sheffield Theatres’ revival of Fiddler on the Roof, now transferred to the West End’s Savoy Theatre, was named Best Performance in a Musical, and Bourne was presented with the unshortlisted Special Award for Individual Achievement and “hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer/director”.

TMA president Derek Nicholls commented: “It is an inspiration to TMA members and theatre audiences that three outstanding figures in UK theatre – Patrick Stewart, Matthew Bourne and Henry Goodman - take pride of place in a list of awards which is a reminder of the extraordinary achievements of theatres and artists from all over the country … The Awards reveal how rich and varied our theatre life is and how much it adds to the quality of life of millions of theatergoers.”

Elsewhere, Scottish theatre made a strong showing with no fewer than five awards going to productions originated north of the border including Best Supporting Performance in a Play (Meg Fraser for All My Sons at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh); Best Touring Production (National Theatre of Scotland’s premiere of Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which transferred to the Royal Court earlier this year) and the Best Show for Children and Young People (Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre/Tag’s Yellow Moon). Dundee Rep’s premiere of The Proclaimers’ musical Sunshine on Leith also won two awards for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Anne Louise Ross) as well as Best Musical Production.

Other key wins went to Polly Stenham for her playwriting debut That Face at the Royal Court Upstairs (which won Best New Play) and Tim Supple (Best Director) for his India-based staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which had a run at north London’s Roundhouse and toured following its initial UK dates as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In addition to winners and nominees, stars at last night’s ceremony included Lee Mead, Stockard Channing and Suranne Jones, who all presented awards. In considering this year's 12 awards categories, more than 1,000 productions were seen by the panel of some 150 regular theatregoers from across the country.

The Theatrical Management Association is a trade association that represents over 300 member organisations involved in the creation, presentation and management of professional theatre, opera and dance in the UK. Its annual awards were established in 1990. The TMA Awards were formerly known as the Barclays Awards, in honour of the high street banking group whose lead sponsorship ended three years ago. A separate set of awards, the TMA Management Awards, highlighting best practice in venue programming, marketing and customer services, were initiated in 2005.

- by Terri Paddock

The full list of 2007 TMA Theatre Awards nominations – with winners denoted in bold - are as follows:

Best Performance in a Play - Kate Dickie for National Theatre of Scotland; Victoria, Belgium and Tramway, Glasgow’s AALST on tour; Barbara Marten for the Royal Exchange Theatre Company’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?; Patrick Stewart for MACBETH at Chichester Festival Theatre produced in association with Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliot.

Best Supporting Performance in a Play - Marion Bailey for Shared Experience’s KINDERTRANSPORT on tour; Kirsty Bushell for Headlong Theatre, Citizens’ Theatre and Lyric Theatre Hammersmith’s ANGELS IN AMERICA on tour; Meg Fraser for ALL MY SONS at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh.

Best Performance in a Musical - Henry Goodman for Sheffield Theatres’ FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at the Crucible; Nicholas Pound for MAN OF LA MANCHA at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; Ben Richards for Ambassador Theatre Group and Donmar Warehouse’s GUYS AND DOLLS on tour.

Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical - Julie-Alanah Brighten for MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG at Derby Playhouse; Alice Redmond for Nottingham Playhouse’s TRACY BEAKER GETS REAL on tour; Anne Louise Ross for SUNSHINE ON LEITH at Dundee Rep.

Best Musical Production - FOLLIES at Royal & Derngate, Northampton; MARTIN GUERRE at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury; SUNSHINE ON LEITH at Dundee Rep.

Best Touring Production - The National Theatre’s THE SEAFARER; Cheek by Jowl’s THREE SISTERS; National Theatre of Scotland’s THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISSOCIA.

Best Director - Daniel Kramer for Headlong Theatre, Citizens’ Theatre and Lyric Theatre Hammersmith’s ANGELS IN AMERICA on tour; Tim Supple for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM on tour; Rachel O’Riordan for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Best New Play - The Royal Exchange Theatre Company’s MONSTER by Duncan Macmillan; TAKING CARE OF BABY by Dennis Kelly at Birmingham Rep and Hampstead Theatre; THAT FACE by Polly Stenham at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court.

Best Design - Ferdia Murphy for DANCING AT LUGHNASA at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Miriam Beuther for LONG TIME DEAD at the Drum, Plymouth; Chloe Lamford for SMALL MIRACLE at the Mercury, Colchester.

Best Show for Children and Young People - PINOCCHIO at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Lyric Theatre Hammersmith’s WATERSHIP DOWN on tour; Citizens’ Theatre/Tag’s YELLOW MOON (THE BALLAD OF LEILA AND LEE) at the Citizens’, Glasgow and on tour.

Achievement in Opera - Opera North’s PETER GRIMES; Glyndebourne’s THE TURN OF THE SCREW; Mark Wigglesworth for his conducting of Welsh National Opera’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE.

Achievement in Dance - Angela Towler for her outstanding performance in Rambert Dance Company’s POND WAY and other roles throughout the season; BREAKIN’ CONVENTION 07 for exposing the energy and appeal of hip-hop dance theatre to audiences across the UK; Birmingham Royal Ballet’s STRAVINSKY! A CELEBRATION 2007 for its stunning recreation of the legendary Balanchine/Stravinsky collaboration.

Special Award for Individual Achievement - Matthew Bourne.

Special Achievement in Regional Theatre - Bruntwood Group, for its year-round charitable work and private financial support for the Arts.