Anthony scoops Sir Peter Hall director award

Published: 31 August 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Anthony Almeida is the winner and Maria Crocker the runner-up of the 2019 Royal Theatrical Support Trust Sir Peter Hall director award.

In its fourth year, the award—which honours the memory of RTST co-founder Sir Peter Hall—is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process.

Almeida was the inaugural link artist stage director at Royal Opera House from 2017 until 2019 and resident director at the Almeida Theatre in 2015. Crocker is an associate artist at Headlong and a regional practitioner for the JMK Trust which provides young and emerging theatre directors with awards, guidance and development opportunities.

Almeida will get the opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully funded production to open in 2020 at Curve, Leicester. It will be a co-production between Curve, Rose Theatre Kingston and English Touring Theatre which will then tour across the UK.

The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Curve to be applied towards the costs of the winner’s production.

Almeida said, “I'm feeling moved. I’m feeling ecstatic. At a time of ever-increasing financial uncertainty, when up-and-coming directors can be seen as unnecessary risks, this opportunity is a true lifeline.

“The process encouraged and challenged me. It offers genuine warmth and demands utmost rigour. Now there’s work to be made—I’m thrilled to be taking the vital next steps in my artistic adventures with the big-hearted, wildly ambitious folk at Curve, ETT and Rose Theatre Kingston.”

Chairman of the RTST Sir Geoffrey Cass said, “we had eight finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 53 candidates. Directing workshops constituted a unique and exacting test of their directing skills.”

Almeida and Crocker were selected by a panel comprising Nikolai Foster, Curve’s artistic director, as chair, Jerry Gunn, executive producer at Rose Theatre Kingston, Carol Leeming, poet and playwright and Curve’s resident assistant director Richard Twyman, artistic director of English Touring Theatre, director Lindsay Posner, theatre set and costume designer Grace Smart, actor Cathy Tyson and Erica Whyman, deputy artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The judges said, “Anthony impressed the entire panel with his vision, rigour and ability to inspire actors. He showed a real passion for making work for audiences outside London and we’re incredibly excited to collaborate with him on his production which will be seen in Leicester, Kingston and across the UK.”