The JMK Trust today announces that Indiana Lown-Collins wins this year’s JMK Award with her production of The Solid Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne. Presented in partnership with the Orange Tree Theatre, the production forms part of Artistic Director Paul Miller’s final season at the venue and opens on 19 October, with previews from 15 October, and runs until 12 November.

Courtesy of Matt Pereira.

The award provides Lown-Collins the opportunity to stage her own full-scale Orange Tree show with the production values and nurturing guidance the building is famous for, and she will work with designer Ica Niemz on the production. This year’s runners up and recipients of the Development Award are director Emerald Crankson and her designer Zoë Hurwitz who worked together on Swallow by Stef Smith. They are awarded £2000 which finances the ongoing professional development of the director and designer pairing.

Indiana Lown-Collins said today, “I am overjoyed to be selected as the director for this year’s JMK Award and am honoured that I have the opportunity to stage Jack Thorne’s arresting play, ‘The Solid Life of Sugar Water. I am fortunate to share, alongside my creative team, this beautiful, witty, and impassioned personal story that amplifies disabled voices as an integral part of creative expression. I want to thank the JMK trust, Orange Tree Theatre and to all who have made this opportunity possible. Thank you for your inspiring commitment to transforming lives through this unique and exceptional award.”

Stephen Fewell, Chair of the JMK Trust, commented, “The theatre industry faces tremendous challenges at present. Whilst stories about the pandemic have largely been banished from the news, barely a day goes by without hearing about another production disrupted, paused, or cancelled.

It is such a challenging time to be an emerging theatre artist. This year, more than ever, our finalists have told us just how fragile their link with their chosen career is – creatively, financially, and spiritually.

However, over the last few years many theatres have, through necessity, been adjusting their buildings for safety and access – considering in depth the needs of audiences, staff and freelancers. With will, financial support change has been created, and I hope this process continues to improve the accessibility of the theatre industry for everyone. We’ve all seen that its future depends on that. 

Indiana is someone who approaches with great thought and professionalism these practical and ethical challenges, and it was a privilege to observe her work as part of the selection process for this year’s JMK. All of our directors are highly deserving, but the combination of her skill and insight, Ica’s design, coupled with Jack Thorne’s writing has us all counting the days to this Autumn’s run at the Orange Tree Theatre.”

Paul Miller, Artistic Director of the OT, added “The partnership between the OT and the JMK Award enters its third year with another exciting director poised to direct at the Orange Tree. Indiana Lown-Collins wowed us all with her amazing commitment, ingenuity, and deep engagement with Jack Thorne’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water. Following the extraordinary success of Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu and Diane Page at the OT, I am certain we have another show that will challenge and astound us all: I can’t wait.”

As a director Indiana Lown-Collins’s credits include The Purple Princess (Guildford Shakespeare Company) a devised TIE tour raising awareness of hidden disabilities based on her own life experiences and The Last Supper (Fresh Direction ‘Replay Project’ The Young Vic). Other credits include Assistant Director on Julius Caesar (Shakespeare’s Globe), Movement Director on The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (GSC); Associate Director on Merrily We Roll Along (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre); Assistant Director on All’s Well That Ends Well (Jermyn Street Theatre), Cinderella (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre); A Woman Alone (Etcetera Theatre); All Aboard (Electric Theatre); Language coach on Strictly Ballroom the Musical (Leeds Playhouse). Indiana was the Assistant Director and Producer at the Guildford Shakespeare Company (2019-2021) where she was assistant director on As You Like It, She Stoops to Conquer, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, Robin Hood, Alice and Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, The Legend of King Arthur and Associate Director on Macbeth.

To find out more about the JMK Trust, visit here…

To find out more about the JMK Award, visit here…

To find out more about Orange Tree Theatre, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop