Sheffield Theatres’ hit touring show Life of Pi was recognised with four trophies at this year’s UK Theatre Awards for regional and national productions.
The play, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti from Yann Martell’s prize-winning novel, was named Best New Play and won Best Director for Max Webster, Best Performance in a Play for Hiran Abeysekera, and Best Design for Nick Barnes, Finn Caldwell, Carolyn Downing, Andrzej Goulding, Tim Hatley and Tim Lutkin.
The show was among a line-up of winners announced yesterday (27 October) at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall hosted by actor Jodie Prenger. Presenters included Denise Black, Lesley Joseph, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Zhangazha and Tracy Brabin MP.
Sheffield Theatres was on a winning streak, with its production of Standing at the Sky’s Edge – a new musical about Sheffield with songs by Richard Hawley, written by Chris Bush and directed by Robert Hastie – being named Best Musical Production.
Rebecca Trehearn won Best Performance in a Musical for her role in Nottingham Playhouse’s Sweet Charity, while Esh Alladi received the award for Best Supporting Performance for Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
The new production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, directed by Ned Bennett for English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East won the award for Best Play Revival.
The title of Best Show for Children and Young People went to Billionaire Boy The Musical, directed by Luke Sheppard for Nuffield Southampton Theatres.
The award for UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre, which this year moved from a public vote to entries judged by a panel of industry professionals, went to Storyhouse in Chester.
Theatre director Emma Rice was honoured with the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre in recognition of the unique, innovative and socially relevant work she has created during a 20-year career, including tenures at Kneehigh, the Globe and her new company Wise Children.
Five new “offstage” categories were introduced this year to reflect the changing theatre industry. Northern Ballet was awarded for Digital Innovation, Colchester’s Mercury Theatre for Excellence in Inclusivity, Derby Theatre for Excellence in Arts Education and York’s Pilot Theatre for Excellence in Touring. Northern Stage won the Workforce Award.
The UK Theatre Awards were sponsored by Harbottle & Lewis, Integro Entertainment & Sport, John Good, SeatGeek, Theatre Tokens and White Light.
Full list of winners
Achievement in Dance
Scottish Ballet for the world premiere of Helen Pickett’s outstanding dance-theatre adaptation of The Crucible
Achievement in Opera
Buxton International Festival at Buxton Opera House for the world premiere of Georgiana
Best Musical Production
Standing at the Sky’s Edge, directed by Robert Hastie, a Sheffield Theatres production
Best New Play
Life of Pi, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti from the novel by Yann Martel, a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Play Revival
Equus, directed by Ned Bennett, an English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East production
Best Show for Children and Young People
Billionaire Boy The Musical, directed by Luke Sheppard, a Nuffield Southampton Theatres production in association with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Max Webster for Life of Pi, a Sheffield Theatres production
Nick Barnes, Finn Caldwell, Carolyn Downing, Andrzej Goulding, Tim Hatley and Tim Lutkin for Life of Pi, a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Performance in a Play
Hiran Abeysekera for Life of Pi, a Sheffield Theatres production
Best Performance in a Musical
Rebecca Trehearn for Sweet Charity, a Nottingham Playhouse production
Best Supporting Performance
Esh Alladi for Hobson’s Choice, a Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester production
Excellence in Arts Education
Excellence in Inclusivity
Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Essex
Excellence in Touring
Pilot Theatre based in York
Workforce Award (sponsored by Integro Entertainment & Sport)
Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne