The Stage theatre industry newspaper has announced its annual The Stage Awards 2023 today, Monday 30 January 2023.
The winners were revealed at a ceremony at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, hosted by the entire cast of award-winning show For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy – which is transfering into the West End’s Apollo Theatre this March.
Winners included the Bush Theatre in London and Lyric Theatre in Belfast as joint Theatre of the Year winners.
The Fringe Theatre of the Year award went to the Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle; and Theatre Building of the Year went to the brand new Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot which opened in 2022.
In terms of production companies, Improbable won Producer of the Year, producing theatre, opera and improv including My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre and An Improbable Musical.
This year’s International Award went to Another Route, the international fellowship for artists based in England that was created to provide opportunities for a new generation to make work abroad following Brexit and Covid.
In terms of tech and innovation, the Digital Project of the Year award was picked up by Derby Theatre for their immersive digital VR experience Odyssey; and the Innovation Award went to Sam Crane and Rustic Mascara for Hamlet in Grand Theft Auto – auditioning and performing a fully-staged production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet within the open-world video game Grand Theft Auto.
Community Project of the Year was won by There and Here for Luca Silvestrini’s Protein project, a devised dance and music piece co-created with non-dancers aged 19 to 70 from around the world.
The Unsung Hero award, which started last year to celebrate the work of theatre people during the pandemic, this year went to UK theatre’s front-of-house staff, collectively recognised for “going above and beyond every day and being at the frontline of theatre’s recovery from the pandemic lockdowns”. The award was collected by long-standing front-of-house people Jill Doyle-Davidson from the Savoy Theatre in London, Sheila Howarth from Leeds Playhouse and James ‘Jim’ Whaite from the Octagon Theatre, Bolton.
Shows coming up at Theatre of the Year winner the Bush Theatre in London include Sleepova (24 February to 8 April 2023), and Lenny Henry in August in England (28 April to 10 June 2023).
At the awards ceremony the whole cast of For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy – Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand, Aruna Jalloh and Kaine Lawrence – hosted the awards. They were collectively awarded Best Performer in a Play at The Stage Debut Awards 2022 for their performances in For Black Boys… at the Royal Court Theatre and the New Diorama. This was the first time the award was given to an ensemble of performers rather than an individual. The same production won Best Production Play Award at the Black British Theatre Awards in October 2022.
Performances at this year’s awards included Elijah Ferreira, who won Best Performer in a Musical at The Stage Debut Awards in 2022, singing Louder Than Words from tick tick… Boom! accompanied by Noam Galperin.
Also check out all of the nominees for this year’s The Stage Awards here.
The Stage Awards are the highest profile awards celebrating excellence in British theatre across the whole of the UK.
The Stage Awards 2023 – Full list of winners
Theatre of the Year
Bush Theatre, London
Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Fringe Theatre of the Year
Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle
Theatre Building of the Year
Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot
Producer of the Year
Sam Crane/Rustic Mascara for Hamlet in Grand Theft Auto
Digital Project of the Year
Derby Theatre for Odyssey
Community Project of the Year
Luca Silvestrini’s Protein for There and Here
Front-of-house staff: Jill Doyle-Davidson (Savoy Theatre, London), Sheila Howarth (Leeds Playhouse) and James ’Jim’ Whaite (Octagon Theatre, Bolton)