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Winner of 2016 JMK Young Director Award announced

Roy Alexander Weise scooped the £25,000 award for a production of The Mountaintop

Roy Alexander Weise
© Rob Logan

Roy Alexander Weise has been announced as the winner of the 19th annual James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director Award.

Twenty eight-year-old Weise will now have his production of the 2009 play The Mountaintop by Katori Hall staged at the Young Vic later this year, with a bursary of £25,000 going towards the production.

Winner of the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the play revolves around the fictionalised account of the night before Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination.

Weise from South West London, said: "Fifteen years ago I walked into a theatre to use the bathroom. I'd never even been in one before. And now, I'm directing this play - a story that means so much to me and so many other people - at one of the best theatres in the world with the JMK giving the kind of support that says 'we trust you and believe in you'".

The JMK Trust was set up to commemorate the talented young director James Menzies-Kitchin, whose career was cut short by his sudden death at the age of 28.

Weise with JMK patron Ian McKellen
© Rob Logan

Stephen Fewell, JMK Trust chair commented: "We first encountered Roy's work two years ago, when he was runner up for the JMK Award in 2014, and in the meantime he has shown not only great tenacity in getting his own work on, but the ability to adapt and learn as part of the dynamic teams at the Bush and Royal Court theatres.

"His winning reflects the crucial importance of well-funded, long term artist development: diverse pathways offering a distinct series of opportunities to directors nationwide... I'm particularly thrilled that he has won this opportunity to bring his work to a wider audience. It's a privilege to be part of his journey."

Weise was Trainee Director at the Royal Court Theatre and is now Associate Director for Harts Theatre Company. He was first runner up for the JMK Award in 2014 and was the BBC Theatre Fellow at the Bush Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith. He made his professional directing debut in Stone Face, currently playing at the Finborough Theatre.

The two runners up for the JMK Award were Chelsea Walker for Low Level Panic and Tom Bailey for The Human Voice. They will each receive a £1,000 award.