New book Master Of The House – The Theatres Of Cameron Mackintosh by Michael Coveney, with a foreword by Cameron Mackintosh, has won the inaugural Architectural History Book of the Year award.
The prize was awarded at a ceremony at the Zaha Hadid Foundation in Clerkenwell on 12 July 2023 as part of the World Architecture Festival.
Published last year by Unicorn, Master Of The House – The Theatres Of Cameron Mackintosh charts the fascinating history of his spectacularly refurbished eight historic London buildings – their origins, their iconic shows and productions, the stars and above all, the crucial part they have played in the development of the British theatre throughout the last millennium. Lavishly illustrated with images from the Delfont Mackintosh archive, the book also contains original architect plans and drawings, specially commissioned photographs of the refurbishment, show posters and other theatrical delights, and many sweeping panoramas of exquisitely finished public areas. Michael Coveney’s witty text puts into focus these theatres’ vital role in the history of British theatre over the last 100 years.
Mackintosh, through his Delfont Mackintosh Theatres company, owns eight West End venues: the Gielgud, Novello, Coward, Wyndham’s, Sondheim, Victoria Palace, Prince Edward and Prince of Wales theatres.
Mackintosh announced last week that he is set to produce a major new arena tour of Les Miserables next year, with the Les Miserables The Arena Spectacular travelling to multiple countries, including the UK.
Producer and West End theatre owners Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement: “Michael’s wonderful commentary on the history of the West End is full of funny and witty observations, informed by the critical eye of a sharp and seasoned critic, who has seen many of the great and not so great productions of the last 50 years. This book is as fun to read as it is as beautiful to look at in this superbly curated compendium which makes me very proud of what my team have achieved to ensure that these unique and dazzlingly designed theatres will play host to the greatest productions, artists and applauding audiences for at least another 100 years!”
Author Michael Coveney said: “I am delighted that the award honours the story I was charged with telling: Cameron’s thirty-year campaign to refurbish, rebuild and restore eight glorious theatres, rendering them not only beautiful, comfortable and exquisitely decorated but also resoundingly fit for modern purpose. This amazing campaign was sustained by a first-class team of builders, artisans, plaster craftsmen and painters, led by architect Julian Middleton and interior designer Clare Ferraby. The book has been beautifully produced, too, by Unicorn, and is illustrated from the treasure trove that is Cameron’s archive, superbly maintained by Rosy Runciman, without whom the book would not have been so good, let alone worthy of such a wonderful award.”
Michael Coveney has written about theatre as editor of Plays and Players magazine, and staff critic on the Financial Times, the Observer and the Daily Mail. His books include The Citz, The Aisle is Full of Noises, Questors, Jesters and Renegades and critical biographies of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mike Leigh, Ken Campbell and Maggie Smith.