It won from a shortlist that also included the Menier Chocolate Factory (currently represented ion Broadway by its transfers of A Little Night Music and La Cage Aux Folles), BAC, the Union Theatre, the National Theatre's Watch this Space season, and Bristol Old Vic's studio. An additional award, the Dan Crawford Innovation Award, was presented to the Royal Court Theatre for its Theatre Local season in a shop unit in the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre in south London.
In a speech honoring their achievement, Playbill.com's London correspondent Mark Shenton, who was one of the judging panel, alongside critics Lyn Gardner, Dominic Cavendish and Fiona Mountford as well as the prize's founder Blanche Marvin MBE, said, "The late, great Dan Crawford, the founding father of London pub theatres who set up the King's Head as London's first all of 40 years ago, was a theatrical pioneer and maverick who saw the potential in carving out alternative spaces and propelling them to the center of London's theatrical life. The Empty Space Peter Brook Award used to honor a pub theatre with an award in his name, but this year we have decided to expand the brief to recognize innovative theatrical spaces in environments that aren't just confined to places above, below or behind pubs. And no space has impressed us more than the Royal Court's new outreach programme that, instead of bringing south London audiences to Sloane Square, is taking Sloane Square productions to audiences in Elephant and Castle shopping center, as part of its Theatre Local scheme. But it's more than just geography; it's also philosophy. Here, in what is effectively a pop-up space of an occupied shop on the first floor of the shopping centre, audiences are being invited to see plays that feel very much like real life in a setting that is itself real….This is a theatre that is innovative, accessible and related to real life. Dan Crawford would be proud."