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Winner of inaugural RTST Director Award announced

Kate Hewitt beat 97 applicants to direct a play at the Crucible Studio Theatre

Kate Hewitt, winner of the RTST Director Award

Kate Hewitt has been announced as the winner of the the inaugural Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) Director Award 2016.

The new, annual award is run by the RTST in collaboration with Sheffield Theatres and offers emerging directors the chance to create and direct a fully-funded production of a play at a selected regional theatre.

Hewitt, who was selected out of seven finalists, will direct a play at the Crucible Studio Theatre as part of Sheffield Theatres' 2017 spring season.

Finalists were judged by a panel including Daniel Evans, Ian McKellen, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Penelope Wilton. Sheffield Theatres' incoming artistic director, Robert Hastie, joined the panel for the final selection process.

The RTST Director Award Selection Panel

Commenting on the win, Hewitt said: "I am thrilled to win the first ever RTST Director Award... Opportunities are rare for young directors striving to make their mark in British theatre and it is an enormous boost to have the trust of this Award backing me as I continue on this path.

"What a privilege to work in Sheffield at the notoriously brilliant and vibrant Crucible Theatre, under Robert Hastie as part of his inaugural season. I have no doubt that this directing experience will be a pivotal moment for me and my career. Thank you RTST, Daniel Evans, Robert Hastie and the incredible panel."

Evans added: "It was incredibly challenging to whittle 97 applicants down to just 7 finalists - and an even greater challenge to arrive at a winner and a runner-up. If the future of our theatre is partly in the hands of directors such as our applicants, then there are very exciting times ahead for us all."

McKellen commented: "The standard of the finalists was hugely impressive and I relished the chance to watch them at work. Kate Hewitt is a worthy winner."

Rebecca Frecknall was named as official runner-up. An award ceremony will be held in London later in the year.