Winner of first RTST Director Award announced by Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Sheffield Theatres
The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) and Sheffield Theatres are delighted to announce Kate Hewitt is the winner of the RTST Director Award 2016.
The new, annual RTST Director Award Scheme offers the chance, through a competitive process, for an emerging director to create and direct a fully-funded production of a play at a selected regional theatre. The inaugural Scheme is being run by the RTST in collaboration with Sheffield Theatres. As the RTST Director Award winner, Kate Hewitt, will now be given the exciting opportunity to direct a play at the Crucible Studio Theatre as part of Sheffield Theatres’ 2017 spring season.
After a successful national call-out for entries, Kate was one of 7 finalists selected by a prestigious Selection Panel to demonstrate their directing skills in workshops with actors. The Panel observed and judged each candidate’s workshop performance, and, following interviews, selected Kate Hewitt as the winner and Rebecca Frecknall as an official runner-up.
The Selection Panel comprised Chair Daniel Evans (Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres and Artistic Director-designate of Chichester Festival Theatre), Ian McKellen, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Penelope Wilton. Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director-designate, Robert Hastie, joined the panel for the final selection process.
On winning the Award, Kate Hewitt said, 'After an exhilarating finalists weekend of being observed directing, and interviews with a top class panel, I am thrilled to win the first ever RTST Director Award. The RTST Award has encouraged my ambition and creativity at every step of the process. It is an award with real integrity that looks to get the best from the directors that it meets. Opportunities are rare for young directors striving to make their mark in British theatre and it is an enormous boost to have the trust of this Award backing me as I continue on this path. What a privilege to work in Sheffield at the notoriously brilliant and vibrant Crucible Theatre, under Robert Hastie as part of his inaugural season. I have no doubt that this directing experience will be a pivotal moment for me and my career. Thank you RTST, Daniel Evans, Robert Hastie and the incredible panel.'
Daniel Evans commented: “It was incredibly challenging to whittle 97 applicants down to just 7 finalists – and an even greater challenge to arrive at a winner and a runner-up. The panel was constantly astonished by the curiosity, generosity and skill of our finalists and I’m hugely grateful to the RTST for facilitating such an in-depth process. If the future of our theatre is partly in the hands of directors such as our applicants, then there are very exciting times ahead for us all.”
Ian McKellen commented: "The standard of the finalists was hugely impressive and I relished the chance to watch them at work. Kate Hewitt is a worthy winner but so many others also need help in establishing their careers as directors. I hope this first initiative by the Royal Theatrical Support Trust is an encouragement to all 97 applicants”.
Sir Geoffrey Cass, RTST Chairman, remarked: "The RTST Director Award 2016 had 7 finalists of the very highest quality, and there was strong competition from the other 90 candidates. Our experienced judging panel was vastly encouraged that the future of British theatre is in such exciting and capable hands. The two primary objectives of the Royal Theatrical Support Trust are the identification and encouragement of emerging theatre professionals, and the promotion of regional and repertory theatre. The RTST Director Award competition, run this year in collaboration with Sheffield Theatres, admirably serves to advance both these objectives."
There will be an Award ceremony in London later this year.