The 2023 UK Theatre Awards winners were revealed today (Sunday 8 October) in a ceremony at London’s Guildhall, hosted by Musical Theatre star Zoe Birkett. Lyric Theatre Belfast enjoyed double celebrations with The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, a collaborative production between Lyric Theatre Belfast and Prime Cut winning Best Play revival and Garry Hynes winning Best Director for the Druid Theatre production Druid O’Casey, a trilogy of stories written by Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey. In total, Irish theatres and production companies had four nods in the winners list.
Scotland also celebrated a wonderful year of theatre, winning in three categories. National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre won Best New Play for their production Enough Of Him, the story of a slave who made Scottish legal history in 1778, written by playwright May Sumbwanyambe. Scotland also dominated the Achievement in Dance category, as Scottish Ballet took home the prize for their contemporary reworking of the comedic ballet Coppélia. Scotland’s final nod was for Excellence in Inclusivity; Capital Theatres, who operate three key Edinburgh venues, took home this accolade.
Best Musical Production was awarded to The Mill at Sonning for their revival of Gypsy, a musical based on the book by Arthur Laurents, with lyrics by the esteemed Stephen Sondheim.
Best Performance in a Musical was awarded to Lena Hall for her starring role in David Read West’s new musical, In Dreams, featuring the music of Roy Orbison. The production premiered at Leeds Playhouse this year.
Best Performance in a Play was snapped up by Daniel Rigby for his starring role in Accidental Death Of An Anarchist. After runs at Sheffield Theatres and the Lyric Hammersmith, the play transferred to London’s West End for a limited season at Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Best Supporting Performance (in a Musical or Play) was won by Antony Eden for his performance in Family Album, a Stephen Joseph Theatre production of English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s new play.
Nottingham Playhouse was announced as the winner of the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Award, after being shortlisted against Curve, Leicester and National Youth Theatre.
Tara Theatre won the Digital Innovation Award, a poignant moment of the event, following the sad and unexpected passing of their Artistic Director Abdul Shayek earlier this year.
Speaking on behalf of the theatre, his wife Nicole Shayek said of Abdul:
‘I want to say thank you for honouring my beautiful husband – what a creative force, what a beautiful man. He worked tirelessly to make change in our creative industries and the communities we live in. He championed equity, diversity, and equality.’
Writer, director, producer, author, and actor Mark Gatiss was honoured with this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, in recognition of the incredible contribution he has made to regional theatre throughout his career in the arts.
Presenting the award to Mark, artistic director of the Nottingham Playhouse, said:
‘Mark excels at everything that he turns his hand to. I’ve worked with Mark five times, and his love of theatre is infectious. Whether that’s in London, or out of London, in the West End, or on the Fringe.’
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who spoke at the event, said:
“The UK Theatre Awards are a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate the incredible creative and technical talent that we have here in the UK. We are proudly home to world-renowned actors, visionary directors, breathtaking sets, wonderful theatres and a mission to entertain, educate and challenge through performance art. The Government will continue to back theatre through tax reliefs to maximise the potential of theatre across the country. I would like to congratulate all of the winners on their fantastic achievements.”
The UK Theatre Awards 2023 are sponsored by Birra Moretti, Harbottle and Lewis, Howard Park Wines, John Good Ltd, Marshfield Farm Ice Cream, Music Theatre International, Setting Line Production Management, Spektrix, Theatre Tokens, Trafalgar Theatres, Tysers in association with Ecclesiastical, Unusual Rigging and White Light.
FULL LIST OF UK THEATRE AWARDS WINNERS 2023
Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey & ULTZ for Tambo & Bones, a Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Actors Touring Company co-production
Garry Hynes for Druid O’Casey, a Druid Theatre production at Lyric Theatre Belfast
Best Musical Production Sponsored by Tysers in association with Ecclesiastical
Gypsy, a The Mill at Sonning production
Best New Play
Enough Of Him, a National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre co-production
Best Play Revival Sponsored by Trafalgar Theatres
The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, a Lyric Theatre Belfast and Prime Cut co-production
Achievement in Dance
Scottish Ballet for Coppélia
Achievement in Opera
Opera North for Orpheus
Best Supporting Performance (in a Musical or Play)
Antony Eden for Family Album, a Stephen Joseph Theatre production
Best Performance in a Musical
Lena Hall for In Dreams, a Leeds Playhouse production
Best Performance in a Play
Daniel Rigby for Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, a Sheffield Theatres and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre co-production in association with Playful Productions
Best Show for Children and Young People
The SpongeBob Musical, a Showpath Entertainment production
Excellence in Arts Education
Blackpool Grand Theatre
Excellence in Touring
Northern Stage, Birmingham Rep, ETT, Oldham Coliseum, tiny dragon Productions and Cardboard Citizens
Excellence in Inclusivity
Digital Innovation Sponsored by Spektrix
Ambassador Theatre Group
Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre
UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Sponsored by Theatre Tokens
This year’s UK Theatre Awards took place at the Guildhall, London on Sunday 8th October. To find out more about the event, visit here…