Theatre News

The Stage Awards 2019 winners include Sonia Friedman, Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre

The awards reward endeavours by producers and theatres across the UK

Battersea Arts Centre and Sonia Friedman were among the winners, while Arinzé Kene's Misty first premiered at the Bush Theatre
Battersea Arts Centre and Sonia Friedman were among the winners, while Arinzé Kene's Misty first premiered at the Bush Theatre
© Left: Morley von Sternberg, centre: Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage, right: Tristam Kenton

The winners of The Stage Awards for 2019 have been revealed.

Sonia Friedman picked up the award for Producer of the Year for the fourth time, following West End productions including The Inheritance, Summer and Smoke and The Jungle all within the last twelve months.

Battersea Arts Centre, which completed its major rebuilding project this year following huge destruction during a fire in 2015, was awarded the Theatre Building of the Year Award.

The Regional Theatre of the Year Award went to Nottingham Playhouse, which has mounted productions including The Madness of George III with Mark Gatiss and Sweet Charity in the last year. The Bush Theatre was named London Theatre of the Year, with shows like Misty transferring to the West End.

Other winners included The Barn, Cirencester for Fringe Theatre of the Year (having only been open for 10 months), and Pat Nelder from Theatr Clwyd, who won the Unsung Hero award. Nelder has worked at the venue in Mold since 1977, and is now a capital development associate there.

The New Diorama Theatre in north London won the Innovation Award for its new programming model to support emerging theatre companies, while the School of the Year was won by Open Door, which provides training and financial support for 18 to 25 year-olds from low-income households and is part-funded by Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.

The Sustainability Award was given to the west London Lyric Hammersmith, while the Hijinx Theatre won the International Award, following its major touring projects across the globe.

Organisations and the public were invited to nominate between October and November 2018, following which 30 industry figures and writers for The Stage considered the nominees. The shortlist was then decided on by a judging panel of Stage writers and editors including Alistair Smith, Lyn Gardner and Natasha Tripney.

Tripney said: "It's a pleasure to recognise the theatres that are changing the shape of the industry both via the work they programme, the people they work with and the level of support they are able to offer theatremakers, both in London, at the Bush Theatre and the New Diorama, and around the UK.

"New initiatives like Open Door are making it possible for talented young people to overcome financial barriers into the industry. Hijinx is touring inclusive theatre internationally, changing preconceptions. These are developments worth celebrating.

The full list of winners and nominees

Regional Theatre of the Year

Nottingham Playhouse
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Theatr Clwyd, Mold

London Theatre of the Year

Almeida Theatre
Bush Theatre
Young Vic Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year

Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Omnibus Theatre, London
Vault Festival, London

Theatre Building of the Year

Battersea Arts Centre, London
Bristol Old Vic
Royal Opera House, London

Producer of the Year

Fiery Angel
Sonia Friedman Productions

School of the Year

Great Torrington School, Devon
Open Door, London and East Midlands
Young Lyric at the Lyric Hammersmith, London

International Award

Hijinx Theatre, Cardiff
National Theatre Scotland, Glasgow
New International Encounter, Cambridge and Hvalstad

Innovation Award

Talking Birds for The Difference Engine captioning software
New Diorama Theatre, London for its programming model
National Theatre and Spotlight for ProFile, a video casting database for D/deaf and disabled actors

Sustainability Award

Julie's Bicycle and Arts Council England for the Accelerator Programme
Lyric Hammersmith, London
National Theatre, London

Unsung Hero

Pat Nelder, capital development associate at Theatr Clwyd