The Offies Awards 2023: celebrating the best and supporting inclusiveness

The Offies celebrate the best of independent, alternative and fringe theatre – across Greater London and at selected fringe festivals around the UK.  Their 2023 ceremony, on the afternoon of Sunday, 12 February, gave out over 50 awards across an exciting range of categories and to a hugely diverse range of recipients.  Over 700 people attended to participate in the first live Offies ceremony since March 2020.

Presenters at this year’s awards included Lord Parkinson, Minister for Arts & Heritage, and Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, whose constituency includes the Alexandra Palace, the venue for the awards ceremony – and whose CEO, Emma Dagnes, was another presenter.  Other presenters included Dame Maureen Lipman (also a winner for Best Solo Performance), the playwright James Graham, and actors including Sharon D Clarke, Monica Dolan, Louise Jameson and Linda Marlowe – as well as a number of winners of the Offies last year.

In 2022, the Offies introduced a number of new award categories.  One of these is the Access award, which recognises the contribution of theatre in providing both access to the arts and a platform for creative individuals and others with lived experience of disability or social disadvantage, and which was awarded this year to shows from Zoo Co Theatre and Graeae.  In addition, theatre companies working with people with special needs were winners in several other categories, including Best Production (Plays), won by “The Solid Life of Sugar Water”, presented at the Orange Tree Theatre.   The Offies scrapped gender based categories in 2021, though they have maintained at least two winners in each of these categories.  Other finalists and winners included many identifying as LGBT or queer, and a large number of performers and other creatives of colour. The Offies also introduced two other new categories in 2022 – for Newcomer and Cabaret – and expanded the categories for Theatre for Young Audiences – alongside the more traditional categories for plays and musicals.

The ceremony included two distinctive performances, from Chickenshed, a company working with diverse groups from their local community, and a song from an all-male production of HMS Pinafore.   There was also a welcome video message from the cast of The Play That Goes Wrong – a show that began its life at the Old Red Lion pub theatre – and a video from the English speaking theatre in Ukraine.

Six special awards were also made – to Maggie Norris at The Big House, to the New Diorama for Intervention 01 (where no new productions were undertaken but instead they worked with a large number of creative individuals), to the radical Blueprint Festival at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch (also focusing on work with people with special needs), to Tarek Iskander for his work at Battersea Arts Centre, to the Bush Theatre for their 50th anniversary, and to John and Katie Plews who have led the Upstairs at the Gatehouse venue for over 30 years.

Geoffrey Brown, Director of the Offies, said “it was a wonderful ceremony which emphasised the extraordinary innovation and creativity that flourishes across independent theatre.  This sector is both the seed-bed for performers, writers and other creatives who will achieve great future recognition, and also the basis for ongoing engagement at the grassroots, creating and fostering the audiences of tomorrow.”

The full list of winners can be found below.

Offies Winners 2023


Artistic Director: Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director, Battersea Arts Centre

Producer: Bush Theatre

Special Achievement: John and Katie Plews, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

ONE OFF – Occasional Awards

Maggie Norris, The Big House

Blueprint Festival, Queens Theatre Hornchurch

Intervention 01, New Diorama

PEOPLE’S VOTEawards for venues, voted by the public

Foodie Experience: Drayton Arms Theatre

Programmes: Orange Tree Theatre

Theatre Bar: The Vaults

Facilities: The Vaults

Most Comfortable: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Most Welcoming: Barons Court Theatre

Online Info & Booking: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Programming & Policy: Polka Theatre

Social Media Presence & Activities: Jack Studio Theatre

OnCommawards for online theatre

Into The Night / Original Theatre

Online (Audio)

The Waves / Holy Mountain Productions / Tamasha Theatre Company

OffFest awards for theatre at fringe festivals

Camden Fringe

Dog/Actor / Threedumb Theatre / Etcetera Theatre

Voila! Europe

Pourquoi les vieux, qui n’ont rien à faire, traversent-ils au feu rouge? / In Itinere Collectif / Cockpit Theatre

Edinburgh Fringe

Earwig / Time and Again Theatre Company / Assembly Rooms



Costume Design

Reuben Speed / Doctor Faustus / Southwark Playhouse

Set Design

Grace Smart / The Wonderful World of Dissocia / Theatre Royal Stratford East

Sound Design

Calum Perrin / Ten Days in a Madhouse / Jack Studio Theatre

Lighting Design

Aaron J Dootson / The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me / New Wimbledon Studio

Video Design

Douglas Baker / Ten Days in a Madhouse / Jack Studio Theatre


Opera Performance

Company & Orchestra / The Cunning Little Vixen / HGO / Jacksons Lane

Opera Production

Patience / Charles Court Opera / Wilton’s Music Hall

New Musical

Olivia Thompson / La Maupin / Lion & Unicorn

Musical Director

Jamie Noar / Say Yes to Tess / Camden People’s Theatre

Director (Musicals)

Matthew Parker / Thrill Me / Jermyn St Theatre

Supporting Performance in a Musical

Michael Mather / But I’m a Cheerleader / Turbine Theatre

Yuki Sutton / Ride / Charing Cross Theatre

Lead Performance in a Musical

Luke Bayer / Diva: Live from Hell / Turbine Theatre

Liv Andrusier / Ride / Charing Cross Theatre

Production (Musicals)

Operation Mincemeat / Southwark Playhouse



set Sam Wilde, lighting Sherry Coenen / I Want My Hat Back / Little Angel Theatre

Original Music/Sound

composer Jon Ouin; sound design George Bellamy / Kinder / Smoking Apples Theatre / Little Angel Theatre


Azan Ahmed / Daytime Deewane / Half Moon Theatre /


Ellie Carroll, Hector Dogliani, Will Lawrence, Lauren Cambridge, Jonny Morton / Jack / Chickenshed


Kinder / Smoking Apples Theatre / Little Angel Theatre


IDEA Design

Cages / Scenario Two / Woolf & The Wondershow / Riverside Studios

IDEA Performance

Louise Mothersole & Rebecca Biscuit / Evita Too / Soho Theatre

IDEA Production

It Don’t Worry Me / Bert & Nasi / ATRESBANDES / New Diorama


Perfect Show for Rachel / Zoo Co Theatre / Barbican

The Paradis Files / Graeae / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Choreography / Movement

Dannielle “Rhimes” Leconte / Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World / Theatre Royal Stratford East


Nkhanise Phiri / Alice in Wonderland / Poltergeist Theatre / Brixton House

Performance Ensemble

Michael Fatogun, Anyebe Godwin, Doreene Blackstock, Tosin Alabi,  Nemide May / Foxes / Seven Dials Playhouse


Reuben Kaye / The Butch Is Back / Soho Theatre


Sleeping Beauty / Queens Theatre Hornchurch


Most Promising New Playwright

Waleed Akhtar / Kabul Goes Pop / Brixton House (and also for The P Word at the Bush Theatre)

New Play

Tyrell Williams / Red Pitch / Bush Theatre

Director (Plays)

Matthew Iliffe / Bacon / Finborough

Supporting Performance in a Play

Oliver Hembrough / All My Sons / Queens Theatre Hornchurch

Caitlin Fielding / Monster / Park Theatre

Performance Piece

Liz Kingsman / One Woman Show / Soho Theatre

Solo Performance in a Play

Joseph Potter / The Poltergeist / Arcola

Dame Maureen Lipman / Rose / Park Theatre

Lead Performance in a Play

Rebecca Humphries / Blackout Songs / Hampstead Theatre (Studio)

William Robinson / Bacon / Finborough

Corey Montague-Sholay / Bacon / Finborough

Production (Plays)

The Solid Life of Sugar Water / Orange Tree Theatre

To find out more about this year’s OffWestEnd Awards, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop