At Theatre Centre we run a series of national awards celebrating and recognising great playwriting and acting talents in the field of Young People’s Theatre.

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Press release

"It seems to me that Theatre Centre is at the heart of a really vibrant conversation about how we go about making the best possible work for young people."

Lou Ramsden, Adrienne Benham Award winner 2013

"It takes an incredible amount of skill and imagination to write for young audiences, and I am really glad the Brian Way Award exists to honour playwrights who dare to take that risk."

Janice Okoh, playwright and Brian Way Award judge 2013

Details of the winners of Theatre Centre’s three awards, the Brian Way Award for Best New Play, the Adrienne Benham Award and the Dorothy L. Sayers Award can be found below. Watch the video above to see a summary of the announcements as they happened on Thursday 14 November 2013.

We're currently reviewing our awards schemes and will be relaunching them in late 2014 / early 2015. Keep an eye on this page, or subscribe to our Mailing List for news as it happens...

BRIAN WAY AWARD 2013: Winner announced

Playwright Danny Braverman won the £6,000 Brian Way Award 2013 for Wot? No fish!! The award promotes the achievements of playwrights who write for young audiences. The prize money is intended to give the winner the time and space to develop a new play without the pressure of deadlines or a commissioning brief.

Wot? No fish!! is a play for ages 12+ produced by bread&circuses. It tells the funny and moving story of how the playwright discovered the lost art of his great-uncle Ab, and is billed as “an extraordinary story about love, art, history… and catering.”

“This play changes the expectations of what Theatre for Young Audiences can be and the stories it can tell. It’s beautiful, poignant and funny, and I’m proud that we are able to recognise it with this award in the name of Theatre Centre’s founder, Brian Way.” Natalie Wilson, Artistic Director, Theatre Centre

Some of the most prominent theatre writers working in the UK today judged the award: Bryony Lavery (whose plays include Her Aching Heart and Frozen), Sabrina Mahfouz (currently the Cape Farewell poet in residence), Janice Okoh (winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2011), Evan Placey (winner of the Brian Way Award 2012) and Roy Williams OBE (whose plays include Sucker Punch and Sing Your Heart Out for the Lads).

Danny Braveman was selected from a shortlist of six playwrights, which also included:

  • Naomi Cortes for The Littlest Quirky (produced by Theatre Centre)
  • Kevin Dyer for Angel (produced by Theatre Hullabaloo)
  • Philip Ridley for Feathers in the Snow (produced by Southwark Playhouse)
  • Nicky Singer for Island (produced by the National Theatre)
  • Rebecca Prichard for Parallax (produced by the Almeida Theatre)

Danny Braverman has been a writer, director, teacher and performer in education and community settings for thirty years. He has worked companies including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre Centre, London Bubble, the National Theatre and Graeae. Until 2011, Danny was Director of The Orpheus Centre. His book Playing a Part: Drama and Citizenship (Trentham Books, 2002) is widely used by teachers and other arts practitioners and he is part-time Lecturer in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths. Danny recently re-formed bread&circuses, a company originally created in 1983, with fellow originator Director Nick Philippou.

Previous winners of the Brian Way Award*

  • 2012 Evan Placey for Holloway Jones (Synergy Theatre Project) 
  • 2011 Keith Saha for Ghost Boy (20 Stories High)
  • 2010 Laurence Wilson for Blackberry Trout Face (20 Stories High) 
  • 2009 Douglas Maxwell for The Mothership (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) 
  • 2008 David Greig for Yellow Moon (TAG) 
  • 2008 Fin Kennedy (runner-up) for Locked In (Half Moon Theatre Company) 
  • 2007 Tim Crouch for Shopping for Shoes (National Theatre Education Department) 
  • 2007 Deborah Gearing (runner-up) for Burn (Shell Connections) 
  • 2006 Neil Duffield for The Lost Warrior (Dukes Theatre, Lancaster) 
  • 2005 Abi Bown for Hey There Boy with the Bebop (Polka Theatre) 
  • 2004 Charles Way for Red Red Shoes (Unicorn Theatre) 
  • 2003 Phil Porter for Smashed Eggs (Pentabus Theatre) 
  • 2002 Brendan Murray for Eliza’s House (Royal Exchange) 
  • 2001 Mike Kenny for Stepping Stones (Interplay) 

*funded by Arts Council England 2001-2007

ADRIENNE BENHAM AWARD 2013: Winner announced

The winner of the Adrienne Benham Award 2013 was Lou Ramsden. Theatre Centre offers the Adrienne Benham Award, a £2,000 seed commission, to support the work of a promising playwright interested in exploring the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) sector to develop brilliant new plays for young people, but who has little experience in this field. This award is intended to steer gifted writers towards young audiences by giving them a seed commission and attachment to Theatre Centre to develop an original idea for young audiences.

Lou Ramsden’s plays have received productions and staged readings at the Soho Theatre, Young Vic, Birmingham Rep, Edinburgh Fringe, and Latitude festival.  Last year she was on attachment to the Royal Court, and part of their invitation-only Supergroup. In 2011 her play Hundreds and Thousands was produced at Soho Theatre, and her play Breed was shortlisted for both the Meyer Whitworth and Critics’ Circle Awards.  In 2010 she completed an attachment at the National Theatre, and was a member of the first 503Five group at Theatre503.  Her plays are published by Nick Hern Books.

Previous winners include Kenneth Emson (2012), Marcelo Dos Santos (2011), Paula B. Stanic (2010) and Steven Bloomer (2009).

Theatre Centre is grateful to the following organisations for their support of the Adrienne Benham Award: Arts Depot, Catherine Wheels, Half Moon, Little Angel Theatre, M6 Theatre, New Perspectives, Polka Theatre, Theatre Hullabaloo, the Unicorn Theatre, Tutti Frutti, Big Brum Theatre, Company of Angels and Visible Fictions.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS ACTORS AWARD 2013: Winners announced

Actors Matt Bradley-Robinson and Adrian Richards won the Dorothy L. Sayers Award 2013, which recognises the achievements of actors whose first professional job is with Theatre Centre.

Dorothy L. Sayers was Theatre Centre’s first benefactor in 1953. In 2006, the Dorothy L. Sayers Society initiated this award to support promising young actors. Ordinarily, one winner received £500, but in 2013, in recognition of Theatre Centre’s 60th Birthday and Matt and Adrian’s achievements, the Dorothy L. Sayers Society generously awarded the actors a prize of £500 each.

Matt Bradley-Robinson graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Acting. Theatre credits include Hugo in A Butcher of Distinction (Cockpit Theatre) and Clem, Andy & Johnno in Theatre Centre’s Skylines Showcase. Whilst training his credits include Huggins/Goodman in There Is A War (Jacksons Lane), Eva in Kimalia, Alexander Goffe in Cressida, Trebonius in Julius Caesar, Dino in The Rink, Halvard Solness in The Master Builder; Rev. Shannon in The Night of the Iguana, Martin in Through a Glass Darkly, Parolles in All’s Well That Ends Well and Maz in The Knowledge. Matt toured with Theatre Centre’s production of Advice for the Young at Heart by Roy Williams.

Adrian Richards trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Whilst at Central he appeared as Link in Moonfleece, Sam Mitchum in Absolute Hell, Edmund in King Lear, Young Bellair in Man of Mode, Agamemnon in The Oresteia, Oliver/Corin in As You Like It, Fick in Balm In Gilead and Semyon in Vassa Zheleznova. Credits before training include: Punch in Relish (National Youth Theatre) and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (M.D.C.C.). Adrian toured with Theatre Centre’s production of Advice for the Young at Heart by Roy Williams.

You too can help the professional development of Theatre Centre’s actors, by lending your support to our Adopt an Actor campaign.

Thank you for your interest in our awards for writers and actors. You might like to find out more about Theatre Centre or join our mailing list.