Derby Theatre has won the Clothworkers’ Theatre Award at the 2017 UK Theatre Awards, bringing back a £150,000 prize which will fund a two-year development programme.
The UK Theatre Awards is the only nationwide awards to honour and celebrate outstanding achievements in regional theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The theatre was also shortlisted, along with Buxton Opera House, in the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre category but neither took the accolade this year. Winners were announced at London’s Guildhall in a ceremony on 15 October 2017.
The Clothworkers’ Theatre Award was launched in 2014 by the Clothworkers’ Foundation and each year a different region is invited to submit nominations. The East and West Midlands took their turn this year with Derby Theatre up against other local venues including Leicester Curve, Nottingham Playhouse, Northampton Theatres Trust, Birmingham Rep, Coventry Belgrade Theatre, Birmingham mac and Newcastle-under- Lyme New Vic Theatre.
Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Derby Theatre, said, “We are thrilled to have been given the Clothworkers’ Award to support our production of excellent theatre which connects the community to the very best artists, theatre makers and practitioners. Derby Theatre has an increasing reputation for making excellent theatre, innovative participatory programmes, and for reaching audiences and artists from all backgrounds; and this award will help us to further develop that mission. A mid-scale production and an urban touring network will be developed, and I look forward to working with the talented team at Derby Theatre to make this our most exciting venture yet.”
Sharing the news on their website Derby Theatre said the prize would fund a two-year development programme. They said, “The money will go towards a two-year learning and participation programme: Our Place, which invites the community into the heart of a production through a large-scale show based on an adaptation of a children’s novel; and Your Place, which takes theatre into the community, including into deprived settings.
“The financial award will also support, more specifically, the development of work for the D/deaf community and family audiences. It will also provide access to communities from socio-economically challenged backgrounds to high quality arts experiences and developing pathways into the industry for socio- economically challenged participants – and the development of female voices on our stages.”
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