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Winners announced for the Also Recognised Awards 2015

Memphis Musical
MEMPHIS Killian Donnelly (Huey Calhoun) and Rolan Bell (Delray) Memphis The Musical. Photo credit Johan Persson

The full list of winners are announced today in the inaugural Also Recognised Awards, the new audience-voted, industry accolade set up by theatre commentators Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock to celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards bodies. Over a month’s voting, more than 15,000 people took part.

Terri Paddock: “In the first year of the WhatsOnStage Awards in 2000, I remember being amazed when 5,000 people voted. Privately, I set that as our target for these first Also Recognised Awards. So I really am amazed anew now, and hugely gratified that we have exceeded that target.

One of the most hotly contested fields, the inaugural Also Recognised Award for Best Musical Direction, went to Alan Williams for his work on Jamie Lloyd’s revival of Sondheim’s Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory. This is the UK’s first-ever recognition for Best Musical Direction, backed by Mike Dixon and Andrew Keates, who previously waged a high-profile lobbying campaign urging awards organisers to grant musical direction creative parity with the work of directors, choreographers, set, lighting and sound designers.

Satirical revue Forbidden Broadway, the second Menier production to win an Also Recognised Award, won Best Ensemble Performance having transferred to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre with its four-strong cast: Damian Humbley, Anna-Jane Casey, Ben Lewis and Christina Bianco. A second Jamie Lloyd production, Richard III starring Martin Freeman as part of Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed seasons at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, was Also Recognised for Best Shakespearean Production.

The first annual Also Recognised Awards comprise ten categories in total, including six recently dropped by the WhatsOnStage Awards, founded in 2001 by Paddock with the close involvement of Shenton. In addition to Best Ensemble and Best Shakespeare, the former WhatsOnStage categories and their new Also Recognised winners are:

  • Theatre Event of the Year – awarded to Nimax Theatres for its successful “Reopening of the Apollo Theatre just three months after its partial ceiling collapse”
  • Best Original Music – awarded to Joe DiPietro and David Bryan for their original score and lyrics on Memphis The Musical at the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Best Solo Performance – awarded to Juliet Stevenson for her performance as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Young VicLondon Newcomer of the Year:
    awarded to performer Damian Buhagiar, who made his debut in the London premiere of Lin Manuel-Miranda musical In the Heights at Southwark Playhouse

The three other new categories in the first annual Also Recognised Awards put the spotlight on the creativity of digital marketing and advertising in theatre. And the winners are:

  • Best Show Poster – Urinetown at the St James and Apollo Theatres
  • Best Show Trailer – Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre
  • Best Twitter Engagement – Les Miserables (@lesmisofficial) at the Queen’s Theatre

Full voting results, acceptance remarks and winners’ “certificate selfies” will be published on mytheatremates.com from Monday 27 April 2015. Building on the site’s popular series exploring the role of Musical Directors, in the coming weeks, MyTheatreMates will turn the features spotlight on the people behind the scenes on other “offstage” Awards categories.

Comments: Terri Paddock: “After leaving WhatsOnStage, I had no intention of ever running another awards. However, when I first read about the new owners of WhatsOnStage dropping so many important categories, categories that had been created by myself and Mark, I was alarmed and saddened – I felt we had to act. Mark and I agree that the work these categories, and our other four brand-new categories, represent is vitally important to the theatre industry and deserves to be recognised.

Mark Shenton: “London theatre has a lot of awards ceremonies, but they invariably acknowledge and reward the same suspects – Best Plays and Musicals, and those that create them or sail in them! What the #AlsoRecognised Awards uniquely do is honour some of those whose work isn’t traditionally recognised (though it should be). I am proud to be part of making this happen, not just in my reviews but also now in an awards-giving.”

Mike Dixon: “Having campaigned for Creative Team Parity, and having found in MyTheatreMates, Terri, Mark and Andrew, people who want to make change for the better, I am simply so chuffed that the Also Recognised Awards in its very first year has topped 15,000 votes. I am especially happy that, within those awards, the very first major nod to Musical Direction has finally been made. Brilliant, simply brilliant…and thank you for voting, too!

Andrew Keates: “It’s amazing how a bit of elbow grease and a lot of passion can make a difference. I’m so very honoured to be part of the first UK award to recognise musical direction and that so many feel it to be as important as we do

Voting for the 2015 Also Recognised Awards ran from 16 March 2015 to 19 April 2015. MyTheatreMates welcomes suggestions for other new award fields not already covered elsewhere. Recommendations with sufficient merit and industry backing will be introduced in future years.

Monday 27th April 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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