WINNER: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Northern Stage
ONE may have thought this drama, set in one room with four characters, was crying out for the intimate treatment.
Thankfully director Erica Whyman did not, opting instead for the creation of an epic production which blew audiences at Northern Stage and Sheffield Theatres away.
Journal Arts and Entertainment Editor, David Whetstone was one of them – as were a collection of London critics who heaped praise on this co-production of Edward Albee’s famous play – a glorious toe-curling study of domestic disharmony.
Erica Whyman, chief executive, Northern Stage, says: “I am really delighted and very proud that Who’s Afraid has been nominated. It is the most extraordinary play, it was a genuine privilege to work on it with such a fantastic cast and we loved playing it in Newcastle as the audiences seemed to enjoy it so much!”
FINALIST: Underneath the Floorboards, Ballet Lorent
BABY ballerinas were the stars of the show at this innovative dance project for the under fives.
Award-winning choreographer Liv Lorent was inspired by her two-and-a-half-year-old son Albie to create a magical and interactive new work for all who came into the requisite age bracket.
Babies had to enjoy it, toddlers had to be able to dance to it while pre-schoolers had to understand it. It was quite the departure for Liv, but a challenge she both relished and met impressively with the help of Ben Crompton who wrote the script.
Laura Hebron of BalletLORENT, says: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this award and especially to have balletLORENT considered next to Northern Stage and Live Theatre.
“A lot of care has been put into this work by the company and it’s collaborators, and it is heartening to have this recognised professionally as well as by our audiences.”
FINALIST: A Walk-On Part: The Fall of New Labour, Live Theatre
Chris Mullin’s acclaimed diaries became a stage show at Live Theatre, offering a wonderful platform for some political knockabout, as well as the work of three nominated parties at this year’s Culture Awards.
Max Roberts (recipient of the Special Contribution to North East Arts and Culture Award) directed the play which had been skillfully adapted for the stage by Michael Chaplin (Writer of the Year finalist).
The production predictably finds the long-serving Sunderland South MP, Chris Mullin (John Hodgkinson, Performing Artist of the Year) at the centre of much of the action and offered a thoroughly rounded and very funny portrait of an MP with a family to care for and local problems to deal with.
Jim Beirne, chief executive at Live Theatre, says: “We are delighted A Walk on Part has been shortlisted. Its success is testament to Chris Mullin’s critically-acclaimed diaries, adapted for the stage by Michael Chaplin under the experienced direction of Max Roberts, Live Theatre’s Artistic Director.”