The Imagination Awards – Championing creativity and inspiring the next generation of theatre makers – shortlist announced

The shortlists have been announced for The Imagination Awards, a new competition launched by the award-winning West End production of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to encourage creativity among inventive youngsters and budding theatre designers.

Entries were invited from young inventors aged 5-15, who were asked to invent a solution to a problem in the world around them, and from theatre designers aged 13-21.

The Imagination awards -some of the shortlisted entries

The Imagination awards – some of the shortlisted entries

Shortlisted young inventors include Ludwig Karg, age 6, from London. He invented a teddy bear which would detect whether food contained nuts. He was inspired by his brother who has a severe nut allergy.

Also shortlisted is Thomas Hanlon, age 9, from Sutton Coldfield. He came up with the idea of The Amazing Speech Bubble Glasses for his deaf grandfather, which would automatically translate speech into subtitles on the inside of his glasses.

And Lewis Kilner, age 12, from Sheffield, invented Supreme Robo-Legs, which would allow those who had lost the use of their legs to get about without a wheelchair.

Amber Sinclair, age 9 from Essex, suggested shoes with a GPRS signal which would automatically take you to your chosen destination.

Entries came from all across the UK in many different forms, including pictures, stories, and even short films.

The Young Theatre Designers category (open to ages 13-21) also received many fascinating, inspiring and creative entries.

The full shortlists are available at

Renowned educationalist Sir Ken Robinson is Patron of the awards with Director Sam Mendes also on the judging panel. The Imagination Awards encourage young inventors and designers to get creative for the chance to win a VIP visit and behind-the-scenes experience to the hit West End show.

The Imagination Awards are divided into two separate awards:

Charlie’s Challenge: a national award for 5-15 year olds (in three age categories, 5-7, 8-11, 12-15), looking for creative inventions and ideas which would benefit a family member.
Judges: Roma Agrawal, James Anderson, Mark Champkins, Emily Mulhall
Prize: The winner will receive an Imagination Pack full of prizes to encourage invention and creativity, plus a VIP trip to London to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The school that submits most entries will receive an Imagination Workshop at their school and a talk from one of the judges.

The Young Theatre Design Award: open to 13-21 year olds across the UK (in two age categories, 13-18 and 19-21) and split into two separate categories: Set Design and Costume Design. Young designers were asked to submit an original set or costume design for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Judges: Sam Mendes, Jess Moore, Caro Newling, Mark Thompson
Prize: The winner from each category will be invited to London to meet with the creative team and watch a matinee performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before experiencing the production from backstage during the evening performance.

Charlie’s Challenge was designed to be inclusive for all young people. The award encourages creativity in the classroom, and champions invention and imagination as valuable skills for any future career. The production created resources to help unlock the doors to the world of theatre, and showcase the opportunities in the arts that exist for young people interested in the process of theatre making and design.

The Young Theatre Design Award looks for those who have already experimented with set and costume design, and also seeks out aspiring artists and those with relevant skills who have not yet considered a career in the theatre industry.

The winners will be announced on Friday 15th July.

The judging panel for the awards includes:

  • Members of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory creative team including: Sam Mendes, Director; Caro Newling, Producer; Mark Thompson, Set and Costume Designer
  • Jess Moore, Executive Director of Corporate Responsibility, Warner Bros.
  • Roma Agrawal, Structural Engineer, WSP Group
  • James Anderson, 18 year old entrepreneur and founder of Thinkspace
  • Mark Champkins, Inventor in Residence, Science Museum
  • Emily Mulhall, Animator

Since opening in 2013, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has offered teachers numerous ways to explore the show through an educational ‘Page-to-Stage’ resource that includes activities and exercises for students to bring the musical to life in the classroom. January 2016 has seen the launch of the new official Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryschool workshops in the areas of drama, singing, dance, musical theatre and storytelling.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has also provided 15 one-week paid backstage work experience placements and three eight-week paid internships through the Golden Tickets scheme, part of Warner Bros. Creative Talent, a programme of investment in skills and training for the UK creative industries.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory presented its first ‘relaxed performance’ on 19th January 2016. Presented in association with Mousetrap Theatre Projects, the relaxed performance was aimed at families with one or more children with special needs. It was designed to provide an opportunity for people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs, who require a more relaxed environment, to enjoy the show.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has quickly become one of the West End’s most popular and successful stage musicals, and recently celebrated its 1000th performance as well as winning a London Lifestyle Award for Theatre Show of the Year, as voted for by readers of the London Evening Standard. It also won two Olivier awards in April 2014, and has broken records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where it has been seen by over 2 million people since it opened in June 2013. It is currently taking bookings until January 2017.

Click here to book your tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is directed by Sam Mendes. Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig, set and costume designs by Mark Thompson and choreography by Peter Darling.

The Official Cast Recording album is available on Sony Records, on CD and download.

This world premiere musical is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Langley Park Productions.
Box Office: 0844 858 8877
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5JF
Booking until January 2017