The Civil Shortlist

The Contenders

Well the plays have been revisited, the little grey cells put back into action and the oracle consulted. In short and without further ado, Civilian Theatre is proud to present the runners and riders in the inaugural shortlist for The Civil Awards. [Cue much fanfare, fireworks and underhand, dirty trick campaigns].

Bribes, whilst having little effect on the outcome, will still be gratefully received. Your comments and opinions are also welcomed.

Winners will revealed next week following a countdown of the Top 10 plays of 2013.

Best Actor – Male

  • James McAvoy          Macbeth (Macbeth)
  • David Tennant          Richard II (Richard II)
  • Serge Maggiani        Berenger (Rhinoceros)
  • Henry Goodman       Arturo Ui (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui)
  • Rory Kinnear            Iago (Othello)

Best Actor – Female

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kyle Soller                     Gaveston (Edward II)
  • Vanessa Kirby               Isabella (Edward II)
  • Jonathan Slinger           Parolles (All’s Well That Ends Well)
  • Ben Whishaw                Baby (Mojo)
  • William Gaunt                Dogsborough (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui)

Best Director

  • Susan Stroman              The Scottsboro Boys
  • Katie Mitchell                  Fraulein Julie
  • Jamie Lloyd                    Macbeth
  • Declan Donnellan           Ubu Roi
  • Gregory Doran               Richard II

Theatre / Theatre Company of the Year

  • Young Vic
  • Barbican Centre
  • Trafalgar Transformed
  • Harold Pinter Theatre

Surprise of the Year

Best thing to happen in theatre in 2013

  • The amount of £10 seats for the Michael Grandage season
  • Rupert Goold appointed as the next artistic director of the Almeida
  • The opening of The Shed

Biggest disappointment of the year

  • Not going to see Chimerica
  • The general flat direction and conservative productions in the Michael Grandage season
  • Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench in Peter and Alice 

Worse thing to happen in theatre in 2013

  • The growing trend to not allow people to book seats so that there is only one left on its own
  • The continuing upward creep of top-end theatre ticket prices
  • The cull of theatre critics across the mainstream press

It’s not all flat caps and whippets you know

‘Provincial Theatre’; the name alone conjures up a terrifying world of underpowered Oscar Wilde revivals, a myriad number of unnecessary Noel Coward productions and a one-man show featuring Simon Callow, heavy sideburns and a troop of Dickensian characters. One imagines the blue rinse brigade being out in force and St John’s Ambulance on standby.

So if this is the case then why I am cursing to myself about both my inadequate timekeeping and the sheer lunacy of trying to claim that Kings Cross and St Pancras are the same station? Why am I hurtling along, judiciously placing sharp elbows into the sides of unaware and unamused French tourists as they gather in the middle of the thoroughfare, just about managing to leap onto the 09.55 to Sheffield with not a moment to spare?

This urgency is caused by the fact that the Crucible is not some ordinary out-of-town theatre. Admittedly the first poster I see is advertising Callow in a Dickens adaptation entitled Dr Marigold and Mr Chops (careful Simon, carry on at this rate and you put at risk your national treasure status), but that I feel is the exception rather than the rule.

The Crucible has been transformed into one of the great regional theatres with an illustrious reputation, and not just for hosting the snooker. A theatre space built with the audience in mind; what the chairs’ may lack in Regency comfort is given back in the form of a utilitarian space that manages to ensure that 980 people can be seated in a manner that allows no-one to be more than 20 metres from the stage. This, to give it some perspective, is the approximate length of a cricket wicket. For anyone who has had the questionable fortune to have sat in the Gods at the Royal Opera House or the Gallery at the Theatre Royal Haymarket then these are truly miraculous days.

But to business and the reason why I am here. Well, like many cosmopolitan liberal types – for the last five or six years I have been more than a little obsessed by The Wire. And brilliantly, here in Sheffield, not in London commanding sky high ticket prices on the West End, the Crucible has managed to entice Dominic West and Clarke Peters to perform Othello (no prizes for guessing who Othello is). The icing on the cake? £17.00 for a seat in the middle of Row D. You can tell we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

And I should warn Sheffield that many more productions of this calibre and they will have a stream of recession-hit, disaffected Londoner’s on their hands who have grown weary of an equivalent seat costing upwards of £60, with ludicrously high booking fees to boot.