Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre named London Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards 2020
PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 February 2020
Staff at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch said they were "over the moon" to win the prestigious London Theatre of the Year Award at The Stage Awards 2020 ceremony on Friday, January 31.
Last year, the Queen's Theatre in Billet Lane produced 14 shows, with an estimated 37 per cent of audience members attending for the first time - in a borough that has the fourth lowest arts engagement in London.
The Stage praised the theatre for managing to produce 14 shows whilst undergoing a £1 million facelift to make the venue more accessible, including As You Like it, a large-scale participatory production with the National Theatre.
Executive director Mathew Russell said: "We're over the moon and still a little bit shell-shocked that Queen's Theatre Hornchurch has been named London Theatre of Year, joining an illustrious list of previous winners.
"This is extraordinary recognition of a transformational year, and a brilliant team of hard working people collaborating together: staff, board, partners, artists, funders, donors, contractors alike.
"But perhaps most significantly we'd love to thank the audiences and participants who've been together on this journey, loyal and increasingly new too, trusting as we try out different things together."
Under the leadership of the artistic director Douglas Rintoul and Mr Russell, the theatre's on-stage programme and off-stage community and outreach work have worked together to deliver the theatre's achievements.
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"Havering, and outer east London, isn't always a place that would think of itself as able to secure London Theatre of the Year," said Mr Russell.
"But it should. It's full of such amazing talent and as the 11th fastest changing borough in the country, is an exciting location to live, work and play.
"They'll be so much richly deserved pride in winning this accolade, which will make a real difference in helping us all to create great theatre."
The Stage Awards launched in 2010 to highlight the achievements of theatre companies and individuals across the UK and globally.
The winner of each category was announced at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for culture and leisure, added: "It is fantastic to see Queen's Theatre Hornchurch recognised for its cultural offer.
"We are incredibly proud of the work they do, not only in putting on exciting shows all year round, but for their commitment to engaging young people from every corner of the borough through theatre, workshops and classes, as well as through their Young Changemakers programme, which asks for young people's input in running the organisation."
For a full list of winners visit thestage.co.uk/awards/#2020shortlist.