The full list of winners has been revealed in the inaugural Also Recognised Awards, the new audience-voted, industry accolades set up by theatre commentators Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock to celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards bodies. Over a month’s voting, more than 15,000 people took part.
Paddock comments: “In the first year of the WhatsOnStage Awards in 2000, I remember being amazed when 5,000 people voted. Privately, I set that as our target for these first Also Recognised Awards. So I really am amazed anew now, and hugely gratified that we have exceeded that target.”
One of the most hotly contested fields, the inaugural Also Recognised Award for Best Musical Direction, went to Alan Williams for his work on Jamie Lloyd’s revival of Sondheim’s Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory. This is the UK’s first-ever recognition for Best Musical Direction, backed by Mike Dixon and Andrew Keates, who previously waged a high-profile lobbying campaign urging awards organisers to grant musical direction creative parity with the work of directors, choreographers, set, lighting and sound designers.
Satirical revue Forbidden Broadway, the second Menier production to win an Also Recognised Award, won Best Ensemble Performance, having transferred to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre with its four-strong cast: Damian Humbley, Anna-Jane Casey, Ben Lewis and Christina Bianco.
A second Jamie Lloyd production, Richard III starring Martin Freeman as part of Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed seasons at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, was Also Recognised for Best Shakespearean Production.
The first annual Also Recognised Awards comprise ten categories in total, including six recently dropped by the WhatsOnStage Awards, founded in 2001 by Paddock with the close involvement of Shenton. In addition to Best Ensemble and Best Shakespeare, the former WhatsOnStage categories and their new Also Recognised winners are:
Theatre Event of the Year – awarded to Nimax Theatres for its successful ‘Reopening of the Apollo Theatre’ just three months after its partial ceiling collapse.
Best Original Music – awarded to Joe DiPietro and David Bryan for their original score and lyrics on Memphis the Musical at the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre.
Best Solo Performance – awarded to Juliet Stevenson for her performance as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Young Vic.
London Newcomer of the Year – awarded to performer Damian Buhagiar, who made his debut in the London premiere of Lin Manuel-Miranda musical In the Heights at Southwark Playhouse.
The three other new categories in the first annual Also Recognised Awards put the spotlight on the creativity of digital marketing and advertising in theatre. And the winners are:
Best Show Poster – Urinetown at the St James and Apollo Theatres
Best Show Trailer – Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre
Best Twitter Engagement – Les Misérables (@lesmisofficial) at the Queen’s Theatre
Full voting results, acceptance remarks and winners’ ‘certificate selfies’ are published on www.mytheatremates.com from Monday 27 April 2015. Building on the site’s popular series exploring the role of musical directors, in the coming weeks, MyTheatreMates will turn the features spotlight on the people behind the scenes on other ‘offstage’ awards categories.