RTST Re-Names Director Award in honour of Sir Peter Hall

Sir Peter Hall

Sir Peter Hall

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust’s prestigious accolade, the RTST Director Award – which provides a rare opportunity for up-and-coming directors to make their mark in British theatre and provides grant support to British regional theatres – has been re-named, with immediate effect, the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award. This change to honour the late Sir Peter Hall – widely acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in British theatre for over half a century – has been made with the gracious endorsement of Sir Peter’s family.

Sir Peter was one of the founding spirits and a lifelong supporter of the RTST (formerly the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Trust), whose aims – to promote and encourage participation in the theatre, including regional theatre, and to support young talent – remained forever close to his heart.  The Award, conferred annually by a panel of highly distinguished theatre professionals at the end of a rigorous competitive process among directors, serves those aims both by recognising excellence in directing skills and by facilitating a career-breakthrough production directed by the winner at the participating regional theatre.  It is therefore poetically apt that this Award should now memorialise Sir Peter.

Chelsea Walker, the winner (announced earlier this year) of what is now the 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award – run by the RTST with Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) ­­– will direct a play to be co-produced by NST, English Touring Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in 2018.

The RTST will re-double its efforts to raise funds in order to guarantee the long-term future of the Award.

Sir Geoffrey Cass, RTST Chairman, said “I knew Sir Peter Hall from our first meeting in the 1950s. Together with Sir Kenneth Cork, Peter and I founded what is now The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) in 1967.  Sir Peter stood for artistic vision and integrity and a passionate belief in the importance of theatre to our culture and civilisation. He was a fervent champion of rising talent. The re-naming as the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award of our prestigious award to promote brilliant directors and regional theatre seemed to us to be the perfect way for the RTST to pay tribute to the man. I shall miss him terribly. ”

More About The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award

The RTST operates an annual award scheme for up-and-coming theatre directors: the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme. The Scheme provides a rare opportunity for an up-and-coming director to direct a fully-funded production of a play as part of a main season of productions at a British regional theatre. The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme is designed for the benefit of directors who have already built up a track record of professional directing experience and who are ready for the opportunity provided by the Scheme to progress to directing a production in the main house, or a comparably high-profile auditorium, of a regional theatre.

 The Scheme involves a collaboration between the RTST and a regional theatre selected by the RTST. The RTST makes a significant grant to the participating regional theatre to be applied towards the costs of the Award winner’s production. It is a condition of the grant that the regional theatre facilitates the implementation of the Scheme and the realisation of that production.

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner emerges from a rigorous competitive process among candidates. To enter for the Scheme, a candidate must be UK resident and be able to demonstrate a professional track record as a director and satisfy certain other criteria. Each candidate is required to submit, in writing, ideas for directing a play of their choosing at the participating regional theatre. Certain criteria for the play are specified each year. Shortlisted candidates are required to participate in directing workshops with actors in order to demonstrate their directorial skills.  Finalists are interviewed.

The Award winner is selected by a panel of distinguished theatre practitioners appointed by the RTST. There is an official runner-up.

The Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways: it supports emerging talent in the theatre; and it supports British regional theatres. The Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates, and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences.

The RTST’s intention is to run the Scheme annually, and to work with different regional theatres. The detailed terms of the Scheme in any given year will be published on the RTST’s website. The terms may vary from year to year.

The RTST ran the inaugural award (then called the RTST Director Award Scheme) in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres. The winner, Kate Hewitt, was selected by a Selection Panel comprising Daniel Evans (Chair), Robert Hastie, Ian McKellen, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Penelope Wilton. Kate won the opportunity to direct the British regional premiere ofTribes by Nina Raine in the Crucible Studio Theatre.  Tribes ran from 30 June to 22 July 2017. The production costs were supported by a grant of £25,000 from the RTST to Sheffield Theatres.

For the 2017 Award, run by the RTST in conjunction with Nuffield Southampton Theatres, the Selection Panel comprised Sam Hodges (Chair), Howard Brenton, Tamara Harvey, Patrica Hodge, Danny Lee Wynter, Stephanie Street and Richard Twyman. The winner was Chelsea Walker, and runner up was Tinuke Craig. The remaining shortlist was: Rachel Bagshaw, Rebecca Frecknall, Max Gill, Becky Hope-Palmer and Antony Lau. The RTST is to make a grant of £50,000 to Nuffield Southampton Theatres to support the production costs of the play to be directed by Chelsea in the main house of NST City prior to its national tour.

About The Royal Theatrical Support Trust

The RTST is a charity whose mission is to promote the public’s knowledge, experience and appreciation of theatre and drama, and thereby play a part in securing the future of British theatre. The charity is supported by many of the leading names in British theatre.

The RTST aims to fulfil its mission by diverse means, including: supporting new and established theatre companies, including regional and repertory companies; supporting up-and-coming theatre practitioners; promoting the works of major internationally renowned dramatists; and encouraging theatre-going. Support is provided in the form of grants and in other forms including the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, profile-raising through some of the leading names associated with the RTST and awareness-building through its developing promotional channels. Visit www.rtst.org.uk.

 The RTST is registered as a charity in England and Wales with registered number 254671. The RTST is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 921909. Registered office: First Floor, 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DH.