Nottingham Playhouse Awarded ‘Regional Theatre Of The Year’


Nottingham Playhouse has been named Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards 2019, which took place at the Bridge Theatre, London on Friday January 25, 2019.

The highly acclaimed awards – which are judged by industry figures and writers for The Stage – aim to recognise the full scope of British theatre and acknowledge the top organisations and individuals in the performing arts industry across the UK.

After a hugely successful 2018 – which saw the theatre create five-star productions, attract leading name actors, generate an increase in ticket sales and an audience growth of more than ten per cent – Nottingham Playhouse earned the title of Regional Theatre of the Year for displaying ‘a strong commitment to productions that engage and reflect the local community, while also giving the theatre a national profile’.

Adam Penford, artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Twelve months ago we set out to firmly position the Playhouse as one of the leading UK theatres​ and I’m so pleased that this prestigious award recognises the hard work of the whole organisation in pursuing that aim.

“I’m grateful to the fantastic artists we’ve collaborated with and our wonderful audiences for their ongoing support. We have exciting plans for 2019 and we can’t wait to build on last year’s success.”

Other theatres shortlisted for Regional Theatre of the Year included Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and Theatr Clwyd in Mold. Previous winners include Sherman Theatre, Cardiff in 2018 and Sheffield Theatres in 2017.

Adam Penford, Stephanie Sirr

Stephanie Sirr, chief executive at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “We have enjoyed an incredibly successful year and we have produced a number of high-quality productions throughout. We are fully committed to making accessible and enjoyable theatre, for and about our community and I want to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year – including our incredible staff, our fantastic sponsors and all the artists we have worked with past and present.”

Adam Penford’s first full season included productions of Wonderland – described as ‘the best play about the miners’ strike’, which is returning to the Playhouse in February, and award-winning play about the Nottingham’s race riots Shebeen, staring Karl Collins.

Holes became the first in-house family show on the Playhouse’s main stage in several years and the 1960s musical Sweet Charity – featuring Olivier award-winner Rebecca Trehearn – was the theatre’s first musical in more than a decade.

The theatre hit a milestone in November, when it became one of the first regional theatres to be chosen by National Theatre Live for the five-star production of The Madness of George III – featuring an all-star cast including, Mark Gatiss, Adrian Scarborough and Debra Gillett.

As a charitable organisation, Nottingham Playhouse depends on donations from the public, from funding from Arts Council England and Nottingham City Council and support from its sponsors, including its two main sponsors, Nottingham City Transport and Nottingham Trent University.

Anthony Carver-Smith, marketing manager at Nottingham City Transport, said: “As a proud sponsor of Nottingham Playhouse, we are delighted to see that the Playhouse has been recognised nationally for the excellent work it does, both in the productions it puts on, and its community work to open up the arts to people across our city.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with the award-winning theatre, maximising the opportunities for as many people to enjoy and get involved in great performances in the years to come.”

Barbara Matthews, pro vice-chancellor for culture at Nottingham Trent University, said: “As a strategic partner and sponsor of the Nottingham Playhouse, we’re proud to see Stephanie and her team win this prestigious award. Our close working relationship is of enormous benefit to our students and staff and so we’re delighted to see the theatre be given this recognition. It is richly deserved.”

Cllr Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure and localities, Nottingham City Council, said: “It is terrific news for the city of Nottingham to have Nottingham Playhouse recognised as the best in the United Kingdom.  The city has a strong commitment to culture and we are pleased to have this celebrated in a national arena.”

Peter Knott, area director for Arts Council England, said: “Huge congratulations go to Stephanie Sirr, Adam Penford and the whole team at Nottingham Playhouse on winning this prestigious award. To be named The Stage’s Regional Theatre of the Year during Adam’s first year as artistic director is not only hugely exciting but a great sign of things to come in the future.

“Nottingham Playhouse is at the heart of the city’s thriving cultural scene, producing great theatre that entertains and inspires us, and this award marks a really exciting start for the theatre in 2019.”

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