The Stage 100 reimagined to celebrate heroes of 2020

Published: 7 January 2021
Reporter: David Chadderton

The Stage 100

The Stage 100, the annual list of the most influential people in UK theatre issued by The Stage newspaper each January, this year celebrates those who have helped theatre to survive the crisis brought on by the pandemic.

Instead of ranking entries by order of influence, this year's list is separated into five categories: "putting on shows", "lobbying and campaigning", "serving the community", "fundraising" and "support and development". It also only contains 99 entries, which according to The Stage, is "to indicate that the judging panel considers it to be incomplete. The final space is left for all the other theatremakers who have done extraordinary and inspiring things in the face of huge adversity during 2020."

Editor Alistair Smith said, “in 2020, theatre was hit by the biggest seismic shock it had felt in at least 75 years, maybe ever. In response to that, it felt impossible and unhelpful to proceed with The Stage 100 as usual.

“Our list this year is no longer a power list. It does not aim to reflect the 100 most influential people in theatre. Instead, we wanted to use The Stage 100 to celebrate those individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in their response to the biggest challenge any of us working in theatre today have ever faced.

“Theatre is chock-full of passionate, adaptable and resourceful people. They have set about their response to the global pandemic in many extraordinary ways.

“The people we have chosen should be celebrated in their own right—they have achieved wonderful things—but they should also be seen as representative of the huge numbers of people across theatre doing great work in the face of huge adversity this year.”

The list is compiled by The Stage’s judging panel following consultation with leading figures in the theatre industry and a public nomination process.

The full list is as follows:

Putting on shows

  • Lucy Askew and Zoe Seaton, Creation Theatre / Big Telly
  • Justin Audibert, Unicorn Theatre
  • Michael Balogun, actor
  • Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner, Paines Plough
  • Michael Buffong, Talawa Theatre
  • Peter Bull and Richard Lambert, Garden Theatre
  • Nica Burns, Nimax
  • Jonty Claypole, BBC Arts
  • Linda Crooks, Debbie Hannan, Gareth Nicholls, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
  • Zoë Curnow, Minack Theatre, Cornwall
  • Bill Elms, producer
  • Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne, Chichester Festival Theatre
  • Nikolai Foster and Chris Stafford, Leicester Curve
  • Nadia Fall and Eleanor Lang, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London
  • Henry Filloux-Bennet, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
  • David Greig and Mike Griffiths, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
  • Michael Harrison, producer
  • Paul Hart, The Watermill Theatre
  • Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, Hartshorn Hook
  • Bradley Hemmings, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
  • Sarah Hopwood and Stephen Langridge, Glyndebourne
  • Joseph Houston and William Whelton, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Wasfi Kani, Grange Park Opera
  • Bill Kenwright, producer
  • Jamie Lambert and Eliza Jackson, Lambert Jackson
  • Adam Lenson, director / producer
  • Iwan Lewis, Barn Theatre, Cirencester
  • Katy Lipson, Aria Entertainment
  • Tom Littler and Penny Horner, Jermyn Street Theatre, London
  • Michael Longhurst and Henny Finch, Donmar Warehouse, London
  • Danny Moar, Theatre Royal Bath
  • Stuart Murphy, English National Opera
  • Conrad Murray, theatremaker
  • Adam Nichols, The Maltings Theatre, St Albans
  • Ian Nicholson and Sam Wilde, director and designer
  • Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger, National Theatre
  • Adam Penford and Stephanie Sirr, Nottingham Playhouse
  • David Pugh, producer
  • Emma Rice, Wise Children
  • Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet
  • Michael Rose, producer
  • Keith Saha and Julia Samuels, 20 Stories High
  • James Seabright, producer
  • Timothy Sheader and William Village, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
  • Chris Smyrnios, Southwark Playhouse, London
  • Tassos Stevens, Coney
  • Nick Starr, Nick Hytner and Katrina Gilroy, London’s Bridge Theatre
  • Matthew Warchus and Kate Varah, Old Vic Theatre, London
  • Kenny Wax, producer
  • Jackie Wylie, National Theatre of Scotland

Lobbying and campaigning

  • Julian Bird, Society of London Theatre / UK Theatre
  • Martin Burton, Association of Circus Proprietors
  • Philippa Childs and Paul W Fleming, BECTU / Equity
  • James Dacre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton
  • James Graham, playwright
  • Laura Horton, PR and playwright
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber & Rebecca Kane Burton, Really Useful Group/LW Theatres
  • Jon Morgan, Theatres Trust
  • Bryan Raven, White Light
  • Nicholas Serota and Darren Henley, Arts Council England
  • Theatre freelancers, Freelancers Make Theatre Work

Serving the community

  • Arts workers in NHS, Front line of the pandemic
  • Esther Baker and Jennie McClure, Synergy Theatre Project
  • James Brining and Robin Hawkes, Leeds Playhouse
  • Andy Barry, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • James Mackenzie-Blackman, Eden Court, Scottish Highlands
  • Sarah Bowern, English National Opera
  • Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre
  • Ned Glasier, Company Three
  • Tamara Harvey and Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd
  • Elizabeth Newman and Kris Bryce, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Indhu Rubasingham and Daisy Heath, Kiln Theatre, London
  • Slung Low team
  • Nikki Watson, Green Shoes Arts


  • Audiences, donations instead of refunds
  • Luke Barnes, Bryony Kimmings, Amahra Spence, crowdfunders
  • Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith, Acting for Others
  • Michelle Collins, #ForTheLoveOfArts
  • Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton, Theatre Support Fund +
  • Sam Mendes, Theatre Artists Fund
  • Francesca Moody and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag Support Fund
  • Anna Saunders, Not On The West End
  • John Studzinski, Genesis Foundation

Support and Development

  • Olivia Beardsley and Isaac Stanmore, Showcase2020
  • Mary Burch, therapist
  • David Byrne, New Diorama Theatre, London
  • Michael Grandage, Michael Grandage Company
  • Simelia Hodge-Dallaway, Artistic Directors of the Future
  • Rob Icke and Lyndsey Turner, directors
  • Ellie Keel, producer
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah, Sue Emmas and Despina Tsatsas, Young Vic, London
  • Elizabeth Lawal, Coventry City of Culture Trust
  • Kate McGrath, Fuel Theatre
  • Kerry Michael, MENA Arts
  • Andrew Miller, Jenny Sealey, Michèle Taylor, #WeShallNotBeRemoved
  • David Mumeni, Open Door
  • Francesca Murray-Fuentes and Molly Sharpe, Project Exchange
  • Amanda Parker, Inc Arts
  • James Phillips, Kim Grant and Lizzie Melbourne, National Student Drama Festival