South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Nominees of the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021 announced

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards have announced their 2021 nominees.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Savoy on 19 July 2021, and be broadcast on 22 July at 9pm on Sky Arts.

2021 sees the awards celebrate 25 years as the only awards to cover the full spectrum of the arts,including Dance, Theatre, Pop, TV Drama, Film, Classical Music, Literature, Opera, Comedy and Visual Art.

Nominees revealed today include Dua Lipa, J Hus, Maggie O’farrell, Kiln Theatre’s Pass Over, Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk, I May Destroy You, Cold War Steve Meets The Outside World

The awards will be presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg, who said: “This is the 25th anniversary of the Awards and, with luck, we are back to a huge gathering of some of the finest artists across the board in the United Kingdom. This is an Awards show which also includes performances of the highest quality – and is altogether a positive and happy statement of the Arts in Britain today.”

Phillip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, Sky, said: “After a year like no other where performers and artists across all the genres have found new and innovative ways of working it’s with a real sense of excitement and pride that we welcome them back to celebrate all their amazing achievements in 2020. And in this its 25th year the South Bank Sky Awards promises to be even more special.”

This year there are two additional awards – The Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During The Pandemic, awarded to both an institution and an individual, to acknowledge their outstanding work during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Winners of this category will be announced on the night.

In the Comedy category, two nominations go to Channel 4 with quirky sitcom Home and semi-autobiographical series Feel Good, alongside the BBC’s hilarious sitcom from the Horrible Histories team, Ghosts. Nominations for Theatre include the Kiln Theatre’s Pass Over, the Donmar Warehouse’s Blindness and the Harold Pinter Theatre and BBC Four collaboration, Uncle Vanya.

Film category nominees are Sarah Gavron’s coming of age drama Rocks, alongside Rose Glass’ chilling debut film Saint Maud and Remi Weekes’ horror thriller His House. Opera North and Scottish Opera battle it out in the Opera category with Street Scene and Nixon In China respectively, with VOPERA also being nominated for L’enfant et les sortilèges.

Literature category nominations include Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize-winning and New York Times Bestseller, Shuggie Bain, alongside Maggie O’Farrell’s winner of The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 novel, Hamnetand Paul Mendez’s semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel, Rainbow Milk. Rounding out the Visual Art category are Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin from Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol, Hold Still from the National Portrait Gallery and unique, ground-breaking exhibition Cold War Steve Meets the Outside World.

In the Dance category, nominations include The Royal Ballet’s first main-stage work of Valentino Zucchetti’s Scherzo, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first one-act ballet commissioned and presented by Carlos Acosta, Lazuli Sky,and Final Edition, the farewell performance from the Richard Alston Dance Company. Classical Music nominations include Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Petrenko’s Mahler I & II, The Lockdown Commissions Lawrence Power and Pavel Kolesnikov’s and Samson Tsoy’s Second Ragged Music Festival at the Ragged School Museum.

The Times Breakthrough Award shines a spotlight on up-and-coming talent in the British Arts; previous notable winners include Amma Asante, Billie Piper and Nubya Garcia. Nominations for this popular category will be announced in due course.

The pinnacle of the event is the Outstanding Achievement Award, which acknowledges the remarkable contribution an artist has made throughout their career to date. Previous winners of this award include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sylvie Guillem, Tracey Emin, Judi Dench, J.K. Rowling, Howard Pinter, Simon Rattle, Eddie Izzard, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This year’s winner will be revealed during the ceremony.

South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021 – Nominees


Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin – Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol

Hold Still – National Portrait Gallery

Cold War Steve Meets The Outside World – Medway / Bournemouth / Liverpool / Coventry


Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez


Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

J Hus – Big Conspiracy

SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)


Pass Over – Kiln Theatre

Uncle Vanya (2020 Film) – Harold Pinter Theatre / BBC Four

Blindness – Donmar Warehouse


I May Destroy You – BBC One / HBO

Small Axe – BBC One

Industry – Bad Wolf/ BBC / HBO


Petrenko’s Mahler I & II – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Lawrence Power – The Lockdown Commissions

Second Ragged Music Festival – Ragged School Museum


Home, Series 2 – Jantaculum / Channel X / Channel 4

Feel Good – Objective Fiction & Objective Media Group Scotland / Channel 4 / Netflix

Ghosts, Series 2 – Monumental Television / BBC One


Scherzo – The Royal Ballet

Lazuli Sky – Birmingham Royal Ballet

Final Edition – Richard Alston Dance Company



Saint Maud

His House


Street Scene – Opera North

Nixon in China – Scottish Opera

L’enfant et les sortilèges – VOPERA


To be announced


To be announced


To be announced


To be announced

Date: 8 June 2021
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