Archive for May 5th, 2009

2009 Tony Awards

5th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

The nominees for the 2009 Tony Awards have been announced.

Of particular interest to our members:

Best Play

  • Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote
  • God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
  • Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute
  • 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman

The full list of all the nominees is on the web site.

UK Adopts Playwrights

5th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

There is an interesting article on The Guardian about a scheme in the UK called Adopt a Playwright Award, a general discussion about the difficulties facing emerging playwrights, and why funding is an integral element for the development of new theatre.

More Short Wins

5th May 2009 by Maura McHugh
  • ‘Atlantic’, a short-short written and directed by Conor Ferguson, and funded by the Irish Film Board, has won the Grand Prix at the Trés Court Very Short Film Festival in Paris.
  • Cecilia McAllister’s short film ‘Missing Link’, which she wrote and directed, won a Special Jury award at Worldfest – The Houston Independent International Film Festival. The short was produced by Bronagh McCartan through Northern Ireland Screen’s Deviate Scheme.

NI Theatre Sales 51% of Sector

5th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to The Stage the first ever “audience audit” of ticket sales for arts events in 2008 in Northern Ireland revealed that its theatres generated 51% of ticket income, which was worth £13.3 million.

Live music was in third place (behind film) with more than 255,000 tickets generating £4.1 million at the box office. Though lagging in seventh place, dance events produced the highest average ticket yield of £21.43, a third larger than the sector-wide total.

Conducted by Audiences Northern Ireland, the Arts Council-funded body charged with growing and diversifying arts audiences – the survey involved 22 key arts organisations in the region and is, says chief executive Steven Hadley, “a major development in market intelligence for the arts sector here”.

Welcoming the report, arts council chief executive Roisín McDonough said: “Its findings refutes commonly held beliefs that the arts are ‘a middle income, middle class interest’ and ‘centered on Belfast’. In fact, as The Audience Audit demonstrates, the arts engage fully across all areas of society”.

2009 Brian Way Award

5th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports that the London’s Theatre Centre has declared Douglas Maxwell the winner of the 2009 Brian Way Award, and the recipient of a cheque for £6,000, for his play for young people called The Mothership.

The annual playwriting prize was first established as the Children’s Award in 2000 by the Arts Council of England, to celebrate innovation in theatre for young people. The awards was taken over by the Theatre Centre in 2007, and was renamed after Brian Way–the organisation’s founder–when the Arts Council removed funding for the award.

Scottish writer Maxwell is the author of a number of plays such as Decky Does The Bronco, Variety and Backpacker Blue, while his work for young people includes Helmet, Beyond and Mancub. His plays have been performed in translation in Germany, Norway, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Holland and South Korea – where his work Our Bag Magnet has just completed a three-year run.

Accepting the award, Maxwell commented: “This means a lot to me because I have been writing for young audiences on and off for ten years, and it deserves respect because I think writing for young audiences is really, really hard. Writing a normal play is hard, writing a good play is almost impossible, writing a good play that teenagers might like ages you like a dog.

“These people we are writing for watch Hollyoaks and The Simpsons five nights a week – you try coming up with an idea that hasn’t been done in Hollyoaks and The Simpsons. It’s impossible. If it doesn’t work, you are personally responsible for putting someone off going to the theatre for life. I’m not comfortable with that – that’s William Shakespeare’s job.”