Cush Jumbo, who is currently to be seen in New York in the Donmar Warehouse production of Julius Caesar at St Ann's Warehouse through Nov. 9, won the award for Best Performance in a Play for playing Nora in A Doll's House at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Janie Dee won the award for Best Performance in a Musical for playing Dolly Levi at Leicester's Curve Theatre, and Siân Phillips was awarded Best Supporting Performance for This is My Family at Sheffield's Crucible Studio.
The only nationwide theatre awards to honor creative excellence and the outstanding achievement seen on and off stage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also saw Sheffield Theatres – who under artistic director Daniel Evans run the Crucible Theatre, Crucible Studio and Lyceum Theatres – take the awards for Best New Play for Mike Bartlett's Bull and Best Musical Production for Tim Firth's This is My Family, both of them produced in the Studio, and Best Touring Production for The Full Monty, seen at the Lyceum and now headed to a West End opening at the Noel Coward Theatre in February.
Blanche McIntyre received the award for Best Director her touring production of The Seagull. Best Show For Children and Young People was shared by Northern Stage's The Borrowers and Unicorn Theatre’s Mister Holgado, and the Best Design Award went to Jonathan Fensom and Charles Balfour for The Accrington Pals at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
As announced ahead of the awards, Simon Callow was presented with The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre.
A public vote for the My Theatre Matters! UK's most welcoming theatre award went to the 60-seat Bike Shed in Exeter. The award was open for the first time to any professional theatre that offers legal and fair terms to all performers and stage management, in line with or better than the Equity Fringe Agreement. To ensure a fair and competitive process, the public voting system was weighted by theatre capacity with the winner decided by number of public votes divided by number of venue seats, with more than 55,000 cast in total. In the opera and dance categories, Achievement in Dance goes to the independent dance artist Wendy Houstoun for 50 Acts, Achievement in Opera was awarded to Welsh National Opera for the productions of Lulu and Lohengrin, conducted by Lothar Koenigs, and Scottish Opera won The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre.
In the awards for off-stage excellence, Northern Ballet won Achievement in Marketing, Brenda Walliss of the Princess Theatre, Torquay was named Theatre Employee/Manager of the Year and the Contact Theatre Manchester was recognised for Promotion of Diversity.
The Awards were compèred by Michael Xavier, with performances from Janie Dee and Frances Ruffelle, and appearances from guest presenters Gina Beck, Christopher Biggins, Sharon D Clarke, Louise Dearman, Shaun Escoffery, Paul Michael Glaser, Jonathan Andrew Hume, Katherine Kingsley, Maureen Lipman, Hattie Morahan, Ben Richards and Ed Watson.
For details of the awards and the full nominations lists, visit tmauk.org/theatreawardsuk.aspx