2019 Offies the 9th Annual Off West End Theatre Awards’ Winners
Photo Credit: OffWestEnd
Stars from theatre and television world, critics and theatre lovers gathered on Sun 3 February in the beautiful newly-renovated Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre to celebrate the 9th Off West End Theatre Awards, the Offies.
With OFFIES director Geoffrey Brown presiding over the ceremony, the awards were presented by theatre luminaries including critic Lyn Gardner, who received an impromptu ovation from the audience, writer Ben Okri OBE, Julie Ward MEP, legendary actor & OffWestEnd Patron Linda Marlowe, Terri Paddock of My Theatre Mates & StageFaves, Tim Webb MBE, and two of the Offies “Patron Saints” – Catherine Kodicek and Paul Arditti amongst others. A number of winners of the Offies 2018 also presented awards: Amber Massie-Blomfield, Jo Martin, Kerry Michael, Leo G Skilbeck, Mimi Ndiweni, Neil Docking and T’Shan Williams. Awards were also presented by representatives of the Offies sponsors: White Light, AKA (marketing agency), estage, and the Shaw Theatre.
Winners included Arinze Kene for his show Misty, which has successfully transferred from its original run at the Bush Theatre to a season at Trafalgar Studios; Southwark Playhouse’s The Rink, whose creative team took home with 5 awards; and Battersea Arts Centre’s own young Beatbox Academy who took home the TBC Award for Frankenstein. The evening also saw three special awards given to the Bush Theatre’s outgoing Artistic Director Madani Younis as he leaves an extremely successful legacy of championing new writing and attracting new audiences and West End and Off West End producer Sally Wood, whose show Wasted at Southwark Playhouse was a finalist in this year’s awards and the critically acclaimed play Chasing Bono at Soho Theatre was also a nominee. Battersea Arts Centre Artistic Director David Jubb received a Special Achievement Award, for his long standing contribution to theatre at the helm of the arts centre as well as his incredible vision and drive to reopen the building immediately after its fire in 2015 and lead the renovation of the Grand Hall.
Several other venues across London, including the Arcola Theatre, Hope Theatre, Jack Studio Theatre, Little Angel Theatre, Old Red Lion, Orange Tree Theatre Park Theatre and the White Bear also took home awards from the night. A selection of mages from the night and a full list of winners is available in the Notes to Editors section.
Geoffrey Brown, OffWestEnd Director, said: “I am more than delighted that the diversity of talent and creativity presented at off west end theatres was recognised and celebrated in such style. And what a breadth of shows and themes: from a kids show about penguins to an opera about Grindr, from a beatbox youth ensemble to a musical in a skating rink, the Offies highlight all that is thriving beyond the traditional west end circuit”
In 2018, Offies assessors were invited to 400 shows across 80 venues across London, resulting in 430 nominations across 28 Offies categories. The Offies panel of assessors and critics then agreed on 89 finalists. The 28 awards cover 5 design categories, 8 categories for plays, 9 categories for musicals & opera, and 6 other categories – for Ensemble, Performance Piece, TBC (shows that defy conventional categorisation), and shows for Young People (for ages 0-7, 8+ and 13+).
The Offies recognise and celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent, fringe and alternative theatres across London, helping to raise their profiles and rewarding the new talent that they nurture, which is essential for the future of the theatre industry.
The Offies are also looking for new assessors to join the team to help provide independent assessments of the extraordinary range of shows on offer from OffWestEnd theatres. This is a great opportunity for people who are keen theatregoers, or those with experience in the theatre sector. Full information on how to become an assessor is available from the Become an Assessor section on the Offies website.
David Jubb, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre, said: “I was very touched by the unexpected Offie. Battersea Arts Centre’s strength lies in its community – of artists, young people and supporters – so it felt right to dedicate the award to one of our young Agents, Osmond Gordon-Vernon. I’m convinced that our agents will lead the cultural sector in the future so the award is for them! I am so massively proud of Frankenstein winning the TBC award, the Beatbox Academy deserves recognition after years of hard work. Frankenstein is also the final run of my tenure, returning to the Grand Hall from mid-March – and I am chuffed that my final run is one which we’ve co-created with members of our community.”
Battersea Arts Centre’s reborn Grand Hall was destroyed by fire in 2015 and reopened in September 2018. Battersea Arts Centre unique rebuild – led by award-winning architects Haworth Tompkins – has created a dramatic yet flexible venue for The Offies, retaining the walls that survived the blaze in their scorched, post-fire richness and incorporating a dramatic new lattice ceiling that takes inspiration from the original 19th century design, while bringing the space into the 21st century. The Offies award ceremony is amongst the first events to take place in space following the Phoenix Season – a five month celebration of risk-taking and renewal with shows by National Theatre of Scotland, Bryony Kimmings, BAC Beatbox Academy, Dead Centre, Lekan Lawal, Little Bulb Theatre, The Paper Cinema, Lemn Sissay, the BAC Moving Museum and others.
Here’s the winners’ list of Offies 2019.
Social Media Presence & Activities
Programmes / Comfort
Welcoming / Programming
Online Info & Booking
BLUE ELEPHANT THEATRE
PRODUCTIONS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Production For Young People 0-7
Production For Young People 8+
THE ADVENTURES OF
Little Angel Theatre
Production For Young People 13+
DON’T STOP THINKING
MUSICALS & OPERA
Male Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Rothschilds & Sons
Male Performance in a Musical
The Other Palace
Female Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Female Performance in a Musical
CAROLINE O’CONNOR / GEMMA SUTTON
GRINDR THE OPERA
Above the Stag
THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA
Old Red Lion
I’m a Phoenix, Bitch
Battersea Arts Centre
BURY THE HATCHET
Out of Forest Theatre
BAC Beatbox Academy
Battersea Arts Centre
FEMI ELUFOWOJU JR
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
The Elufowoju jr Ensemble
Most Promising New Playwright
Orange Tree Theatre
TEARRANCE ARVELLE CHISHOLM
in a Supporting Role in a Play
Female Performance in a Supporting Role in a Play
The Open House
Male Performance in a Play
Orange Tree Theatre
Female Performance in a Play
Madani Younis took charge at the Bush Theatre in 2012, and has overseen a transformation in the renowned venue’s outlook whilst remaining true to its roots as a home to new voices in theatre. He oversaw a similarly transformative renovation to the building itself, opening up the space and creating room for a new studio theatre. His final season saw Arinzé Kene’s Misty transfer into the West End and audiences overall have tripled during his tenure, with the Bush a shining example of a building with national and local significance. As he departs for the Southbank Centre, and Lynette Lynton steps into the role, we wanted to honour the incredible work Madani has done over the last 7 years.
A devoted supporter of the arts in London as well as further afield, Sally trained in acting at the Central Television Workshop and also Mountview Theatre School before going on to set up her own production company in 2009. She has produced shows across a variety of the capital’s venues, both West End and of course Off West End, being keen to champion new writing. This year alone has seen her produce Wasted at the Southwark Playhouse, a new musical about the Bronte sisters and which is a finalist in today’s awards, together with Chasing Bono, a play from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and which also received several Offies nominations on its premiere at the Soho Theatre. Sally is also a Trustee of north London’s Roundhouse venue.
As we stand in this miraculous space, it is only right that we honour David Jubb for the incredible achievement in re-opening this building. After 2015’s blaze, in true theatrical fashion, David announced that the building would open the following day. The show did indeed go on, and for three years BAC has made the most of every available space to host performances, whilst raising the funds and working tirelessly to re-open the Grand Hall. Rather than ignore the fire, a deliberate decision was made to recognise the good that came from it. To this end, scorch marks and burns are still visible on the walls – this building wears its scars with pride. We often talk about theatres as community buildings, and the aftermath of the fire brought support from both the wider theatre and local Battersea communities in the most incredible way. This award goes to David Jubb for his superb 20 years at BAC, and for leading and galvanising the rescue mission for this incredible building.