Theatre News

JMK Award finds new home at Orange Tree Theatre

The JMK Award had previously been a resident at the Young Vic for seven years

Orange Tree Theatre
Orange Tree Theatre

The JMK Award, which recognises directorial talent from across the UK, will enter a new partnership with the Orange Tree Theatre.

Founded in memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a director who died unexpectedly aged 28, the award enables one applicant aged 35 or under to create their own production of their choice of classic text.

The Orange Tree will produce the winning applicant's show from next year onwards, with artistic director Paul Miller saying: "The ethos of the JMK Award, and its commitment to nurturing emerging talent, is very much at the heart of what the OT is all about, and we look forward to supporting, enabling and celebrating the new directors we welcome here."

Previous winners, including Thea Sharrock, Orla O'Loughlin, Bijan Sheibani, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Natalie Abrahami, Roy Alexander Weise and Polly Findlay, have gone on to direct major productions across the UK and in the West End.

The JMK Award had previously been resident at the Young Vic for seven years, with current artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah saying: "The Young Vic has been honoured to work with the JMK Trust for seven years, with many talented directors including Roy Alexander Weise, Liz Stevenson and Kate Hewitt – who will direct Jesus Hopped the ‘A' Train on our main stage in 2019 – using the opportunity to take their career to the next level."

JMK Trust chair Stephen Fewell said: "In the current climate, we believe the Orange Tree offers a precious combination of security and intimacy so important to the nurturing of developing artists. The work it programs represents many differing voices, attracting and exciting new audiences, in a way that we hope will both inspire and give a platform to a generation of theatre makers right across the country."

The JMK Trust will soon be accepting applications for next year's award, with the list of plays for candidates to choose from being released before Christmas. The first round deadline for applications is 30 January 2019.