The winners of The Stage Awards 2014 were announced today (31 January), with the National Youth Theatre winning the prestigious School of the Year category, sponsored by Nick Hern Books.
We would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to the National Youth Theatre on winning the School of the Year Award. The NYT’s achievement in discovering, inspiring, and nurturing the talent of so many young performers and theatre technicians is truly exceptional. We’re proud to support The Stage Awards in recognising excellence in UK drama training, and through our range of practical theatre books we continue to provide the very best training resources for the theatre professionals of the future.
Also nominated for the School of the Year Award were Chickenshed Theatre and Arts Educational London. The winners in the other categories were:
- London Theatre of the Year: Hampstead Theatre
- Fringe Theatre of the Year: Southwark Playhouse
- Regional Theatre of the Year: Sheffield Crucible
- Producer of the Year: Michael Grandage Company
- Unsung Hero of the Year: Andy Collier
The winners of the 25th Critics' Circle Theatre Awards were announced today (28 January), with Nick Hern Books plays and authors winning in six of the nine categories.
Lucy Kirkwood's gripping thriller Chimerica won Best New Play, as well as Best Director for Lindsey Turner and Best Designer for Es Devlin. A gripping political examination and engaging personal drama about an American photojournalist searching for the subject of his most famous photograph - the mysterious Tinananmen Square Tank Man - Chimerica transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre after a sell-out run at the Almeida Theatre in the summer. Praised by Time Out as 'the play of the year', it was named Best Play at the recent Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and is nominated for Best New Play at the WhatsOnStage Awards.
The Most Promising Playwright award was shared by NHB authors Rory Kinnear and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for The Herd and Fleabag respectively. Rory Kinnear also won the award for Best Shakespearean Performance.
A witty and heartfelt look at a family falling apart – and pulling together – when life doesn’t turn out quite the way they imagined, The Herd premiered at the Bush Theatre in September. Outrageous comic monologue Fleabag, which premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe before transferring to the Soho Theatre in September, has already won Phoebe Waller-Bridge a Fringe First and Stage Award for Best Solo Performer, as well as being nominated for an Off West-End Award.
Lesley Manville picked up Best Actress award for Ghosts. Adapted and directed by NHB author Richard Eyre, Ghosts transferred to Trafalgar Studios, where it plays until 22 March, after its initial successful run at the Almeida Theatre. Richard Eyre won Best Director at the Evening Standard Awards for the production.
Critics' Circle Award winners - Special Offer
To celebrate our authors' success, we're offering a special deal on all of the Critics' Circle Award-winning plays listed above. Get any of the four winners - Chimerica, The Herd, Fleabag and Ghosts at 25% off plus free UK p&p when you use the code CIRCLE at checkout. This offer is valid until Friday 14 February.
The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were announced today (16 January), with August: Osage County, adapted by Tracy Letts from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, receiving two nods.
Meryl Streep is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Violet Weston. A three-time Academy Award-winner, she has been nominated a record 18 times during her career.
Julia Roberts receives a nod for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Barbara Weston-Fordham. She was also nominated at the 71st Golden Globe Awards, and is shortlisted for the same award at this year's BAFTAs and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
A hugely-acclaimed black comedy exposing the dark side of the Midwestern American family, August: Osage County tells the story of the Westons. Reunited in Oklahoma after the disappearance of their father, they let loose a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. First staged in the UK at the National Theatre in 2008 following its premiere in Chicago, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony Award for Best Play and Critics' Circle Award for Best Play.
To celebrate August: Osage County's awards success, we're offering the wonderful original playscript for just £7 + free UK p&p when you order through our website. To take advantage of this offer, simply enter the code AUGUST at checkout. This promotion is valid until 7 March 2014 - to purchase your copy now, click here.
The RSC's production of Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies, adapted by Mike Poulton from Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novels, opened at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, yesterday (8 January), garnering rave reviews from a string of critics.
Starring Ben Miles, the Tudor England-set plays tell the story of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a Putney blacksmith who works his way up to become a key figure in the court of King Henry VIII, and inextricably involved in the rise and fall of Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn.
The pairing of Hilary Mantel and the RSC is 'a marriage made in heaven', Paul Taylor declares in his five-star review for the Independent. He praises the 'unflagging power and fascination' of the adaptation, which is full of 'exhilarating stage-craft and masterly narrative compression'. Like many of the reviewers, Taylor calls for the production to transfer to London's West End, arguing it 'must surely have a long life after Stratford.'
Writing in the Guardian, Michael Billington calls the production 'a gripping piece of narrative theatre'. Describing Miles' portrayal of Cromwell as 'totally compelling', he contrasts the plays' depiction of historical figures with those found elsewhere, saying 'all the main characters have a three-dimensional richness... that puts to shame a piece of costume drama like TV's The Tudors.' 'This is history made manifest', he concludes.
Simon Taverner is full of praise for Mike Poulton's adaptation in his two-part review for WhatsOnStage, proclaiming the writing as 'first class - a real gem of a script for audiences and actors alike.' The production is 'an exemplary piece of work', he says, staged with 'clarity, wit and plenty of very welcome humour.' He praises Jeremy Herrin's 'assured direction' and the creative team as a whole, saying 'Poulton, Herrin and Mantel have produced something quite special here'. 'The West End should beckon for these productions', he states, joining Paul Taylor in calling for a transfer.
'Meaty, intelligent drama', announces Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. Dubbing the production 'a rewarding epic', like many others he reserves much of his attention for the script. 'Great credit must go to Poulton', he says. 'The writing is accessible, combining wit and humanity... what could feel like a dusty history lesson instead seems a miracle of compression.' In a similar vein, The Stage's Heather Neill calls the plays 'a triumph of clarity', also picking out Ben Miles' 'riveting' performance.
The RSC's production of Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies runs at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon until 29 March. The scripts, available in a single volume priced at £10.99, are co-published by Nick Hern Books and 4th Estate. They can be purchased through this website here.