Winners have been announced for the annual South Bank Sky Arts Awards, which celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2021.
At a ceremony today, 19 July, at The Savoy hotel in London, Melvyn Bragg hosted the awards, which celebrate achievement in all areas of the arts.
This year’s theatre award went to Uncle Vanya (pictured), the 2020 film produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Angelica Films for BBC Arts. The film was a specially commissioned version of the original stage production, directed by Ian Rickson and produced during lockdown.
Adapted by Conor McPherson, the two-hour film starred Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Rosalind Eleazar, Aimee Lou Wood, Anna Calder-Marshall, Dearbhla Molloy, Peter Wight and Roger Allam, and is directed for screen by Ross MacGibbon.
The original stage production opened to acclaim at the Harold Pinter Theatre in January 2020 produced by Sonia Friedman, but had to shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
The Awards also celebrated emerging talent with The Times Breakthrough Award, presented to playwright Samuel Bailey for his breakthrough play Shook at Southwark Playhouse.
The recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award was Grayson Perry, with singer and songwriter Dua Lipa taking home the Pop award for her acclaimed album Future Nostalgia. Multi-award winning TV series I May Destroy You won in the TV Drama category, and Hamnet, a fictional account of Shakespeare’s family life by Maggie O’Farrell, grabbed the Literature prize.
Other winners included TV comedy series Ghosts in the Comedy category, Scherzo by The Royal Ballet for Dance, and Rocks for Film.
This year there were 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 outstanding work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Winner of The Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During The Pandemic: An Individual went to Sam Mendes for the Theatre Artists Fund; a project he helped to set up to fundraise and provide emergency short-term relief for thousands of theatre workers and freelancers across the UK affected by the crisis. Wigmore Hall took The Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During The Pandemic: An Institution, for leading the way in transmission of live performance by exceptional performers, providing a much needed morale boost for classical music lovers during the peak of the pandemic.
The ceremony featured performances from singer Celeste, opera singer Danielle de Niese, readings by poet Benjamin Zephaniah and Line of Duty star Kelly Macdonald.
The awards will air on Sky Arts on 22 July at 9pm. Nominations were announced on 7 June.
South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021 – Winners
Presented by: Russell Tovey
Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin – Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol
Presented by: Bridget Christie
Ghosts, Series 2 – Monumental Television / BBC One
Presented by: Monica Dolan
Uncle Vanya (2020 Film) – Sonia Friedman Productions / Angelica Films for BBC Arts
Presented by: Matthew Bourne
Scherzo – The Royal Ballet
Presented by: Julian Lloyd Webber
Petrenko’s Mahler I & II – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Presented by: Bernadine Evaristo
Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
Presented by: Nadine Benjamin
L’enfant et les sortilèges – VOPERA
Presented by: Melvyn Bragg
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Presented by: Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù
I May Destroy You – BBC One / HBO
THE TIMES BREAKTHROUGH AWARD
Presented by: Jimmy McGovern
Theatre – Samuel Bailey
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Presented by: Neil MacGregor
THE SKY ARTS AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN THE ARTS DURING THE PANDEMIC: AN INDIVIDUAL
Presented by: Phil Edgar-Jones
THE SKY ARTS AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN THE ARTS DURING THE PANDEMIC: AN INSTITUTION
Presented by: Phil Edgar-Jones