NEWS: Winners of the Third Tonic Awards Announced

The awards ceremony took place in central London last night.

The recipients of the third annual Tonic Awards were announced in a ceremony which took place at The May Fair Hotel last night, hosted by Tracy Ann Oberman.

Celebrating the achievements of women working in theatre from significant organisations, projects and productions that have helped to redefine the role of women in the performing arts, both on and off stage.

This year’s winners included Jude Kelly CBE, Alison Tickell, Open Clasp Theatre Company, Paula Garfield, Elliott & Harper Productions for Company, Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of Emilia, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and Dance Umbrella.

Talking about the news, Lucy Kerbel, Director of Tonic Theatre, said today, “It is absolutely vital there is a platform to celebrate the integral part women play in this industry and we couldn’t be prouder that the Tonic Awards return this year to recognise and champion the work of these women, both on and off stage. We’ve seen great strides forward for women in our industry and wider society over the last few years and we hope to continue to support these positive changes.”

Each of the winners of this year’s awards are as follows:

Jude Kelly CBE for her inspirational leadership of the Southbank Centre, in particular, the creation of the Women of the World Festival – utilising the resources, creativity and expertise of an arts organisations to empower and provide a platform to women and girls.The award was presented to Jude Kelly CBE by Lemn Sissay MBE, poet, playwright and broadcaster. 

Alison Tickell for her commitment to increasing awareness of the performing arts’ carbon footprint and implementing practical and imaginative changes to better the industry through her pioneering work for Julie’s Bicycle.The award was presented to Alison Tickell by Sir Nicholas Serota, CH, Chair of Arts Council England.

Open Clasp Theatre Company for their efforts to engage and provide opportunity to marginalised women to engage with theatre and present stories that might otherwise go unheard. The award was presented to Open Clasp Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Catrina McHugh MBE by Erica Whyman OBE, Deputy Artistic Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Paula Garfield for her energy and unwavering commitment to opening theatre up and the artistic quality of the work she produces as Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre. The award was presented to Paula Garfield by Jo Hutchison, Director of JHI Marketing.

Elliott & Harper Productions for Company, an outstanding production andground-breaking example of cross-gender casting in commercial musical theatre, breathing new life into a classic and paving the way for more cross-gender casting and reimagining of the musical theatre cannon. The award was presented to Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper from Elliott & Harper Productions by Sarah Crompton, Theatre Critic for WhatsOnStage and culture journalist.

Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of Emilia for bringing visibility to Emilia Bassano, a female artist who had been obscured in history, in an articulate, witty and intelligent production that highlighted the situation for women in theatre and wider society. The award was presented to playwright Morgan Lloyd-Malcolm plus various members of the team behind the production of Emilia by Sita McIntosh, Chair of Tonic’s Board of Trustees and COO of WhatsOnStage.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for the impact it has had in supporting women writers over the last 40 years. Its recognition and financial support has aided generations of women pursuing careers in writing.The award was presented to Emily Reid from The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize by Indhu Rubasingham MBE, Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre.

Dance Umbrella for shaping the landscape of modern and contemporary dance in the UK. Under the leadership of three outstanding women Dance Umbrella is a creative force that develops artists, audiences and the artform itself. The award was presented to the three women who have in succession been Artistic Director at Dance Umbrella: Val Bourne CBE, Betsy Gregory and Emma Gladstone by Siobhan Davies CBE, Artistic Director of Siobhan Davies Dance.

The ceremony was attended by senior figures from across the UK theatre industry including NadiaFall, Haydn Gwynne, RobertHastie, Karena Johnson, Brigid Larmour, Lynette Linton, Britannia Morton, Dame Rosemary Squire DBE and Meera Syal CBE. 

Tonic Awards was set up by Tonic Theatre to support theatre and the arts to achieve greater gender equality, diversity and inclusion. They partner with leading performing arts organisations and the wider creative industries around the UK and beyond to deliver a range of programmes, resources, training and events to drive meaningful and sustained change.

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