Sir Ian McKellen will receive the annual special award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the U.K. Theatre Awards, to be presented in a ceremony at the City of London's Guildhall October 9, hosted by Lesley Manville.
McKellen receives the award in recognition of his tireless work both in championing diversity and for his commitment to theatre, including touring productions, across the country. He is currently appearing in the West End in the London transfer of a production of Pinter's No Man's Land, first seen on Broadway, that he has recently toured to regional theatres in the U.K.
Past recipients of the award include Sir Matthew Bourne, Timothy West CBE and Prunella Scales CBE.
Other awards, voted for by a panel of judges made up of professional critics, are presented for categories that include Best New Play, Best Musical Production and Best Actor and Best Actress. Amongst the regional theatres where work has been applauded are Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Northampton's Royal, Southampton's Nuffield, Manchester's Royal Exchange and Theatr Clwyd in Mold, Wales.
In a press statement, Julian Bird, chief executive of U.K. Theatre, commented, “This year's nominations demonstrate that theatres in the UK are continuing to thrive artistically. Night after night, incredible work can be seen on stages up and down the country. From thought-provoking drama to musical revivals, our industry is a world-leader. We also recognise the hard work of the dedicated teams backstage and front of house, without which there would be no theatre.”
There is also a public vote for the U.K.' s Most Welcoming Theatre, presented in association with Smooth Radio. Vote closes September 19. For more information, visit uktheatre.org/vote.