The first prize-giving of the awards season – ahead of the Critics’ Circle, the Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com’s own Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, all of which are announced in the new year – the Evening Standard Awards are announced at a ceremony hosted by Richard Wilson at the Royal Opera House on 24 November 2008, with shortlists due to published in the newspaper this Friday, 7 November.
The Standard Awards are decided by a panel of critics from the Mail on Sunday (Georgina Brown), Observer (Susannah Clapp), Times (Benedict Nightingale) and Daily Telegraph (Charles Spencer) as well as the Standard itself (Nicholas de Jongh), chaired by Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley. The longlist comprises every individual and production submitted by the judges as awards-worthy.
As Nicholas de Jongh explained when the longlists were first revealed last year: “The whole notion of introducing the longlist is to draw attention to the very high quality which we regularly enjoy across the full gamut of theatre … Everyone of the longlist deserves their moment of glory.”
Historically, the thinking of the Standard judges was much more of a mystery. Until 2001 when the newspaper began announcing the shortlists in advance of the awards presentation (See News, 6 Nov 2001), only the winners themselves were ever publicly revealed. Unlike last year when the longlists began, one category this year – the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright – has no longlist. In 1999, for the only time in its history, the Evening Standard Awards excluded the annual category for Best Play completely because the judges felt that year there were no new works that lived up to “the extraordinary achievements of the past” (See News, 23 Nov 1999).
- by Terri Paddock
The full longlists of contenders in this year’s 54th annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which covers openings up until the end of October 2008, are (in no particular order):
THE NED SHERRIN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
THE SYDNEY EDWARDS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
THE MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER
THE CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT
NO LONGLIST ANNOUNCED