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Culture Awards 2019 shortlist announced

Published: 14 April 2019

The shortlist of nominations for the Journal and the Gazette Culture Awards, held this year in association with Middlesbrough Council has been announced.

Those of theatre interest are:

Arts Council Award

  • Curious Arts Festival: the third annual festival again gave LGBTQ artists a platform, providing workshops, community events and discussions.
  • Southpaw Dance Company: Robby Graham’s dance company devised community theatre show Erimus to reopen Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Best Arts & Business Partnership

  • Unfolding Theatre and xsite architecture: for a partnership that has enabled the theatre company to take up residence and earn a large sum in match funding.

Best Event: Durham

  • Everything There Ever Was: a large-scale performance co-produced by That There (Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley) and Unfolding Theatre at Crimdon Dene.
  • The Man Engine: more than 6,000 people saw the UK’s tallest mechanical puppet perform on the Town Green at Willington.

Best Event: Northumberland

  • Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival: the 14th festival drew the biggest audience with a 49% increase in cinema attendance and 75% of screenings selling out.
  • Provocations and Revelations: performances by Morpeth-based November Club, commissioned by the National Trust to mark 50 years since it opened Wallington.
  • Out There: outdoor event organised by theatre company Mortal Fools at Prudhoe riverside involving performances by youth theatre groups.

Best Event: Tees Valley

  • Erimus: a community theatre performance devised by Southpaw Dance Company to reopen Middlesbrough Town Hall after refurbishment.

Best Event: Tyneside

  • A Christmas Carol, Northern Stage: Northern Stage’s seasonal production was performed in-the-round with a jazz-inspired score.

Newcomer of the Year

  • Becki Parker: Becki, who has autism, premièred her Hunting for the Unicorn with fellow dance artist Vero Cendoya at Stockton International Riverside Festival.

Performance of the Year

  • Don’t Forget the Birds, Live Theatre: mother and daughter Cheryl and Abigail Byron played themselves in a play based on their testimonies when Cheryl was an inmate at HMP Low Newton.
  • Portolan: a high-wire love story over the Wear created by Cirque Bijou as a finale for the Tall Ships Races.
  • The War of the Worlds: H G Wells’s sci fi novel was relocated to Northumberland for Northern Stage’s North company for emerging actors.

Performing Artist of the Year

  • Emma Bloomfield: suspended from a tall ship’s mast, Emma re-enacted Sunderland hero Jack Crawford’s nailing the colours to the mast at the 1797 Battle of Camperdown.
  • Brian Lonsdale and Bryony Corrigan: the actors are shortlisted jointly for their performances as Tom and Amy in My Romantic History at Live Theatre.
  • Christopher Price: Chris portrayed all the male characters in the Gala Theatre’s production of Jim Cartwright’s Two opposite Jessica Johnson (last year’s winner).

Writer of the Year

  • Laura Lindow: Laura adapted The War of the Worlds for Northern Stage and wrote the play Woven Bones for Cap-a-Pie theatre company.
  • Alison Stanley: Alison’s The Life of Reilly, about an autistic boy and his family, was premièred at Northern Stage.
  • Gordon Steel: Gordon wrote The Fulstow Boys, a play based on the true story of one woman’s determination to have a WW1 memorial in her village.

The Culture Awards presentation night will be 23 May when the winners will be announced at the refurbished Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Peter Lathan