by Jez Bond

Today Melli and I were invited to the Annual Peter Brook Empty Space Awards. This is a ceremony that recognises innovation, creativity and excellence in smaller off West End, Fringe and Studio theatres across the UK. The event took place in the National Theatre Studio on The Cut and was attended by nearly 200 people made up in the most part by artistic directors, producers and critics. The ceremony was chaired, as it was organised, by the renowned theatre critic and real character, Blanche Marvin.

It was our first trip to the awards and wonderful to be part of such an important event. It was great to see Lucy Bailey and Anda Winters pick up an award for their new venue The Print Room, which has been going from strength to strength at a time of economic uncertainty. Similarly it was good to see Southwark Playhouse – who have programmed exceptionally well in the last year – pick up another. Nick Kent from the Tricycle Theatre got an incredibly warm and long round of applause as he collected his award which, as he is soon stepping down from his post after 28 years, felt a bit like a ‘lifetime achievement’ award. Well deserved again and all winners and nominees proving that – as Dominic Cavendish said – against all adversity theatre can thrive in the worst economic times. (Sorry Dominic if I’ve just bastardised your words!)

I am deeply looking forward to the Awards 2012 and, perhaps even more so, to 2013 by which time I would hope that we’ll be in the running…

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