Anthony Almeida announced as winner and Maria Crocker as runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2019

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) and Leicester’s Curve have announced Anthony Almeida as the winner of the 2019 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and Maria Crocker as the runner-up. Now in its fourth year, the award – which honours the memory of RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall – is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process.

As the winner of the 2019 award, Anthony will now get the opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully funded production to open in 2020 at Curve, as a Made at Curve co-production between Curve, Rose Theatre Kingston and English Touring Theatre (ETT), then tour across the UK. The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Curve to be applied towards the costs of the winner’s production.

Anthony and Maria were selected by a panel comprising: Nikolai Foster (Artistic Director of Curve) as chair, and judges Jerry Gunn (Executive Producer at Rose Theatre Kingston), Carol Leeming (Poet and Playwright, Resident Assistant Director of Curve), Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre), Lindsay Posner (Theatre Director), Grace Smart (Theatre Set & Costume Designer), Cathy Tyson (Actor), Erica Whyman (Deputy Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company).

The scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objectives by nurturing up-and-coming talent in the theatre and supporting British regional theatres. It is also intended to appeal to a wide range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage, offstage and among audiences.

Chairman of the RTST, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said: “The 2019 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award had 8 finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 53 candidates. Directing workshops – held over two full days, in which the finalists had to direct actors, observed by our immensely experienced panel of judges, and then be interviewed by the panel – constituted a unique and exacting test of their directing skills. The winner’s prize is the exceptional opportunity to direct a production that will premiere on the stage of Curve, Leicester, move on to the Rose Theatre, Kingston, then go on a main-stage national tour with English Touring Theatre (ETT). The RTST’s collaboration with Leicester’s Curve, Kingston’s Rose Theatre, and English Touring Theatre is admirably fulfilling the RTST’s twin primary charitable objectives of identifying and encouraging emerging theatre professionals and promoting British regional theatre”.

Deputy Chairman, Mark Hawes, said: “This unique Award propels Anthony Almeida deservedly into mid-scale regional tour direction. While there can only be one winner, the selection process has given other hugely talented directors rare and valuable exposure to the influential theatre practitioners who served on the judging panel.”

 Curve Chief Executive Chris Stafford, Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre Richard Twyman and Rose Theatre Kingston Executive Producer Jerry Gunn said: “Anthony impressed the entire panel with his vision, rigour and ability to inspire actors. He showed a real passion for making work for audiences outside of London and we’re incredibly excited to collaborate with him on this production which will be seen in Leicester, Kingston and across the UK. We’d like to thank all of the directors that took part in the workshop weekend, who displayed such talent and inspired us all with their commitment to the process and craft of directing.”

Winner, Anthony Almeida said: Being named the 2019 winner of the mighty RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award is a gift. I’m feeling moved. I’m feeling ecstatic. At a time of ever increasing financial uncertainty, when up-and-coming directors can be seen as unnecessary risks, this opportunity is a true lifeline. The process encouraged and challenged all of me. It offers genuine warmth and demands utmost rigour. Now there’s work to be made – I’m thrilled to be taking the vital next steps in my artistic adventures with the big-hearted, wildly ambitious folk at Curve, ETT and Rose Theatre Kingston – to you all, and to the essential RTST: thank you.”