Theatre in Wales

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The First Theatre Critics of Wales Awards

Wales Theatre Awards

Theatre Critics of Wales , Sherman Theatre , January-30-13
Wales Theatre Awards by Theatre Critics of Wales There have been previous theatre awards but they lapsed eight years ago. The new initiative, the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards, is the creation of Guy O'Donnell.

The history of earlier awards for the theatre of Wales is not easily accessed. Its method was direct polling of audience members and its last reference in 2005.

For years theatre criticism was in decline. New Welsh Review for a period ran a theatre supplement whose main writer was Jeni Williams. Print publication continued to decline in competition with online media. For a period the Western Mail honourably was the last title among the hundreds belonging to Mirror Group Newspapers to pay a fee for arts reviews.

In 2010 a small renaissance in writing on theatre took place. The National Theatre of Wales in partnership with Literature Wales inaugurated a New Critics Scheme. Its four members enjoyed a programme of induction with leading four critics from London and further one-on-one tuition. The programme stipulated that eight productions from the National Theatre's opening be reviewed.

This scheme prompted an initiative by Guy O'Donnell, then of Bridgend Council, to encourage young people to write. It received considerable publicity from critic Lyn Gardner and was followed by a similar scheme for older writers. The Theatre Critics of Wales Awards were helped considerably by Harriet Hopkins

The Awards' release in 2014 runs:

“The awards were created in 2013 by the Young Critics Scheme, established to support and encourage people aged 12 to 25 who review shows in Wales that are then published online.

These young critics are joined by professional theatre critics from Wales who work in both English and Welsh across the genres or theatre, opera and dance, including the Western Mail, Wales Online, Theatre in Wales, Musical Opinion, Wales Arts Review, BBC Radio Cymru and S4C, Barn and The British Theatre Guide.

Together they vote for the strongest productions, performance and writing, staged by created and presented in Wales during 2013.”

The awards for the first event were:

Best Production in the Welsh Language: “Llwyth” Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedaethol Cymru
(Sponsor: University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

Best Female performance in the Welsh language: Rebecca Harries – “Llanast!” Bara Caws
(Sponsor: Theatre-Wales website)

Male Performance in the Welsh Language: Simon Watts – “Llwyth” Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedaethol Cymru (Sponsor: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)

Best production in the English language: “Coriolan/us” – National Theatre Wales
(Sponsor: Theatre Iolo)

Best male performance in the English language: Richard Lynch – “Coriolan/us” National Theatre Wales (Sponsor: Wales Millennium Centre)

Best female performance in the English language: Lisa Palfrey – “Before It Rains” Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic (Sponsor: Arts Connect)

Best ensemble: Matthew Aubrey, Harry Ferrier, Gwawr Loader, Kyle Rees, Anjana Vasan,
Sion Daniel Young “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning” – National Theatre Wales (Sponsor: Coreo Cymru)

Best director: John McGrath “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning) National Theatre Wales (Sponsor: Dirty Protest)

Best design: Tim Dickel – “Little Dogs” National Theatre Wales/Frantic Assembly (Sponsor: University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

Best music and sound: John Hardy/Mike Beer – “Coriolan/us” National Theatre Wales (Sponsor: Daily Post)

Best use of digital/online content: “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning” – National Theatre Wales/Native HQ/Tom Beardshaw (Sponsor: Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

Best production for children/young people: “Grimm Tales” – Theatr Iolo (Sponsor: Sherman Cymru)

Best dance production: “Dream”- National Dance Company Wales (Sponsor: National Theatre Wales)

The Writer’s Guild playwright award: Katherine Chandler – “Before It Rains” Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic (Sponsor: The Writers Guild)

Young Critics' award: “A Clockwork Orange” – Volcano (Sponsor: Literature Wales)

Best opera production: “La Traviata” – Welsh National Opera (Sponsor: MediaSmith, Marketing and Media Consultants.)

Best male opera singer: Gary Griffiths – “La Bohčme” Welsh National Opera (Sponsor: Theatr Na n'Óg)

Best female opera singer: Rebecca Evans – “The Marriage of Figaro” Welsh National Opera
(Sponsor: Western Mail and Wales Online)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ann Sholem and Roy Campbell-Moore (Sponsor: Welsh Fargo Stage Company)

Best use of digital/online content: “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning” – National Theatre Wales/Native HQ/Tom Beardshaw (Sponsor: Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

A fuller version may be seen on

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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