The Irish Times Theatre Awards
Words: Lauren O'Toole - Theatre Writer
27th February 2011
The carpet was purple, if there were any diamond-encrusted goody bags they must have mislaid mine and the hosts stayed in the same outfits for the duration of the night. While there were a few minor differences between the Irish Theatre Awards ceremony and that other somewhat significant Awards show taking place over the pond I can't imagine the atmosphere at the Oscars could have been much better than it was on Sunday evening in Vicar Street.
The evening began with music by Phelim Drew and the Undertakers while drinks were quaffed, the movers and shakers in Irish theatre air kissed and mingled and everyone eagerly anticipated the outcome of the ceremony. Bets were being taken, good luck wishes mouthed across the room, nervous hands were knocking over wine glasses; the tension was palpable.
Our hosts for the evening Michael James Ford and Mark O'Regan conducted proceedings with their tongues firmly embedded in cheek. The duo punctuated the evening with references to the main issues concerning Irish theatre in the past 12 months - namely the cutbacks in arts funding, the flood of imported A-listers and of course, the hot topic of the evening "Captain Boycott up on Cavendish Row". But the Gate Theatre’s refusal to be included in the proceedings did not succeed in putting a dampener on the evening - there were far more painful moments to take the heat off that particular scandal. While the show was on the whole entertaining, Ford and O'Regan rolled out a pre-recorded, somewhat cruel and incredibly unfortunate, skit involving Druid’s Gary Hynes and Willie White of the Project Art's Centre that had tumbleweeds firing across the venue at a ferocious speed.
Once the playground bullying was complete and the universal vicarious blushing had receded, the winners were announced and there were few surprises. The luminous Olwen Fouére was awarded in absentia best actress for her role in Sodome My Love and, while she was up against extremely strong contenders, I think there was little doubt in anyone’s mind who the ultimate winner would be. The category of best actor was somewhat more difficult to call but went to Marty Rea in Second Age's Hamlet. Best Production went to PanPan for their innovative and quite frankly hilarious offering to the Dublin Theatre Festival The Rehearsal: Playing the Dane. While most people had money on Siren Productions' Medea to take off with the lump of stone in this category, Selina Cartmell's well deserved award for Best Director no doubt made up for any disappointment.
With the awards distributed the beautiful people took off to The Odessa, some with newly acquired stone statues uncomfortably stuffed into clutch bags, others with a little too much free wine on board and all with the finale song from The Nualas ringing relentlessly in their ears. The Irish Theatre Awards is not merely a night for glittery dresses and back slapping but an opportunity for everyone involved in Irish theatre to take acknowledgment of the incredible work that is being done across the length and breadth of the country. Managing Editor of the Irish Times Gerry Smyth put it best in his own contribution to the proceedings when he said that “An Irishman’s heart is nothing but his imagination” and the level of talent up for scrutiny at this year’s Irish Theatre Awards was certainly testament to that.
Best Actor - Marty Rea – as Hamlet in Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare and directed by Alan Stanford for Second Age Theatre Company
Best Actress - Olwen Fouéré – as the woman in Sodome, My Love, written by Laurent Gaudé, translated by Olwen Fouéré and directed by Lynne Parker for Rough Magic Theatre Company
Best Supporting Actor - Laurence Kinlan – Mossy Lannigan in Christ Deliver Us!, written by Thomas Kilroy and directed by Wayne Jordan for the Abbey Theatre
Best Supporting Actress - Eleanor Methven – as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest, written by Oscar Wilde and directed by Lynne Parker for Rough Magic Theatre Company
Best Director - Selina Cartmell – Medea, written by Euripedes in a new version by Robin Robertson, produced by Siren Productions
Best Set - Aedín Cosgrove – The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane, directed by Gavin Quinn, produced by Pan Pan Theatre
Best Costumes - Joan Bergin – John Gabriel Borkman, written by Henrik Ibsen in a new version by Frank McGuinness, directed by James Macdonald
Best Lighting - Sinéad Wallace – Happy Days, written by Samuel Beckett and directed by Annie Ryan for Corn Exchange
Best Sound - Dennis Clohessy – Sodome My Love, written by Laurent Gaudé, translated by Olwen Fouéré and directed by Lynne Parker for Rough Magic Theatre Company
Best Production - The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane - directed by Gavin Quinn for Pan Pan Theatre
Best New Play - B for Baby by Carmel Winters – directed by Mikel Murfi for the Abbey Theatre
Best Opera - Virginia by Saverio Mercadante, directed by Kevin Newbury for Wexford Festival Opera
Judges' Special Award - Project Brand New
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 1st March 2011 | Theatre
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