The Bush Theatre, the Young Vic and Hampstead Theatre are to battle it out for the title of London theatre of the year at The Stage Awards 2014.
Now in their fourth year, our annual awards celebrate outstanding organisations working in the performing arts.
The Bush Theatre, which has previously won in this category, was highlighted for programming a string of highly successful debut plays last year – including those by actors Cush Jumbo and Rory Kinnear.
Meanwhile the judges recognised the Young Vic for its commercial achievements in 2013 with the West End transfer of its production of A Doll’s House, as well as critically acclaimed shows such as A Season in the Congo, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The Hampstead Theatre was noted for its outstanding box office and audience attendance figures for the most recent financial year, with average capacity now at more than 90% and a surplus of more than £225,000.
Also on the shortlist revealed today is Sheffield Theatres, which will fight to retain its title of regional theatre of the year. It is up against the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.
Contenders for the fringe theatre of the year prize include London’s Southwark Playhouse and New Diorama Theatre, as well as Brass Works Theatre, a 90-seat venue just outside Bristol.
The shortlist for producer of the year comprises touring company Headlong alongside commercial producers Sonia Friedman Productions and the Michael Grandage Company.
Lastly, Arts Educational Schools will compete with the National Youth Theatre and London’s Chicken Shed Theatre for the school of the year prize, which recognises the best in performing arts training.
The winners of all five categories – including another prize, the Unsung Hero award – will be announced at The Stage New Year Party at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane on January 31.
The Stage’s deputy editor and chair of the judging panel Alistair Smith said: “We had a great response from the reader nominations this year and some really excellent contenders in all the categories, representing theatre across the UK.”
“The awards are judged across a range of criteria, including but not limited to artistic and commercial performance. We look forward to celebrating with our winners and shortlisted companies later this month.”