Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has got not one but two entries shortlisted among the finalists at this year’s The Offies (Off West End Theatre Awards). 

The theatre’s 2022 pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, is up for Best Panto, while actor Oliver Hembrough has been nominated for Best Supporting Performance in a Play for his role as Chris Keller in Arthur Miller’s drama All My Sons. 

The Offies is an awards ceremony held annually, recognising the best in London’s independent theatres. 

Caroline Leslie, part of the theatre’s creative leadership team and director of Sleeping Beauty, said the theatre is “so delighted” to have been nominated as finalists. 

She said: “We had two very strong intentions for Sleeping Beauty.  

“Firstly, to surprise and delight audiences who might be coming to the theatre for the first time, hopefully inspiring them to come again.  

“And secondly, to honour the rich tradition of pantomime, whilst also making a progressive story that felt relevant to audiences today. We think this nomination means that we achieved these aims and that gives us great joy and satisfaction.” 

Romford Recorder: The cast of Sleeping Beauty at Queen's Theatre in HornchurchThe cast of Sleeping Beauty at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch (Image: Mark Sepple)

The production, which ended on December 31, took its audience from Tudor times to 2057, as an evil fairy casts a wicked curse on Princess Raury, leaving her to bravely tackle a brand-new world.   

Commenting on his nomination, Oliver said: “I’m thrilled to be a finalist in the best supporting performance in a play category at this year’s Offie Awards.  

“Playing Chris Keller, alongside our fantastic cast at Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, was a joy. I mean, what a part to play. Bucket list stuff right there and to get this nod is the icing on the cake.”  

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Oliver added he wanted to thank the whole team at the theatre, “from the box office staff to the executive director, from the front of house staff to all of the technical and creative crews.  

“Without you lot these plays would never happen, and we need them now more than ever.”   

The awards ceremony this year is booked in for Sunday February 12, to be held at Alexandra Palace Theatre.