Leading theatre commentators Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock have teamed up to launch a new audience-voted, industry accolade. Last week, the Olivier Awards shortlists honoured some of the biggest names and shows of 2014. This week, the Also Recognised Awards celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in other fields.
The awards are voted for online at www.MyTheatreMates.com, a new digital hub run jointly by Paddock and Shenton.
The first annual Also Recognised Awards comprise ten categories, including six that were recently dropped by the WhatsOnStage Awards, founded in 2001 by Paddock with the close involvement of Shenton, then her chief theatre critic at WhatsOnStage.com. The six categories are:
* Best Ensemble Performance
* Best Solo Performance
* Best Shakespearean Production
* Best Original Music
* London Newcomer of the Year
* Theatre Event of the Year
Paddock, who co-founded and, for over 16 years, ran WhatsOnStage.com before her departure in December 2013, explains: “I first read about WhatsOnStage dropping these categories on Mark’s blog for The Stage, and was alarmed and saddened by the new owner’s decision. Mark and I agree that the work these categories represent remains vitally important and deserves to be celebrated. We felt we had to take action.”
Shenton continues: “While we were at it, we also wanted to give recognition to other important disciplines that aren’t covered by conventional theatre awards, not least Musical Direction, without which no musical could exist.”
The Also Recognised Award for Musical Direction is the first of its kind in the UK. It’s backed by musical director Mike Dixon and director Andrew Keates, who helped draw up the Musical Direction shortlist. Dixon and Keates have waged a high-profile lobbying campaign urging WhatsOnStage and the Olivier Awards organisers to grant musical direction creative parity with the work of directors, choreographers, set, lighting and sound designers.
Andrew Keates comments: “I’m so pleased to be signed up and associated with such soldiers of theatre, to seek out and recognise those that have been ignored in our industry for too long.”
Mike Dixon adds: “These awards herald a new age, a new voice and perhaps are a new overture to finally achieving creative team parity.”
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:
* Best Show Poster
* Best Show Trailer
* Best Twitter Engagement
Nominations for the Also Recognised Awards have been drawn up by Shenton and Paddock. Voting for the winners opens today, Monday 16 March 2015, and continues until Friday 16 April 2015. Results will be announced on www.mytheatremates.com.
MyTheatreMates is also inviting suggestions for other new award fields not already covered elsewhere. Recommendations with sufficient merit and industry backing will be introduced in future years.