Maggie Steed was awarded the prize for Best Performance for her role in the West Yorkshire Playhouse's production of Noël Coward's Hay Fever. Speaking whilst receiving her award she said she hoped that the regional theatre sector would survive "the next couple of years", alluding to the arts funding cuts likely to befall regional theatres, particularly as local authorities look to pass on reductions in their budgets from central government.
In the Best Performance in a Musical category the entire ensemble were honoured for their performance in Bolton Octagon's The Hired Man which was performed by a company combining professional actors and amateurs from the local community. The Royal & Derngate's artistic director Laurie Sansom was awarded Best Director for Spring Storm and Beyond the Horizon, two "unknown" American plays which were presented in rep. Chris Davey also won the prize for Best Lighting Design for his work on Beyond the Horizon.
New writing company Paines Plough, led by new artistic directors James Grieve and George Perrin were awarded the prize for Special Achievement in Regional Theatre. Jointly accepting the award the pair, who took up the role in February 2010, praised the work of the 67 playwrights they have worked with so far this year and said that at one point in their short tenure they had seven concurrently touring productions. The company are currently touring the critically acclaimed production of Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love, Laurence Wilson's Tiny Volcanoes and Come To Where I’m From across the UK.
The TMA's Special Award for Individual Achievement was this year presented to Max Stafford-Clark, artistic director of Out of Joint. Accepting his award, Stafford-Clark, whose career has included a spell as artistic director of Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre; forming Joint Stock Theatre Company in 1974, working with writers such as David Hare, Howard Brenton and Caryl Churchill; being artistic director of the Royal Court from 1979 to 1993; and forming Out of Joint with Sonia Friedman in 1993, spoke of working to overcome the effects of the debilitating stroke in suffered in 2006.
Stafford-Clark praised the support of his wife, playwright Stella Feehily, revealing that her play Think Global, Fuck Local, which looks behind the public face of UN and NGO workers whilst abroad, would receive a full production by Out of Joint at the Royal Court in 2011. The show was part of the Royal Court's Rough Cuts season, running at the Theatre Upstairs for two nights in July 2008.
In the Supporting Role categories Louise Plowright won the prize for Best Supporting Role in a Musical for her role in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Ayesha Antoine won the Best Supporting Performance in a Play award for My Wonderful Day at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
Anya Reiss won the award for best new play with Spur of the Moment at The Royal Court. The Royal Court's The Empire a co-production with Drum Theatre, Plymouth won Best Touring Production.
Unlike most of the UK's prizes for theatre, the TMA Awards (presented by the Theatrical Management Association) do not focus on London and the West End. They are the only nationwide awards for excellence in regional theatre. A separate set of awards, the TMA Management Awards, highlighting best practice in venue programming, marketing and customer services, were initiated in 2005.
The full list of 2010 TMA Theatre Award winners are as follows:
For further regional theatre coverage, check out Whatsonstage.com's growing network of regional microsites.