Tonic Awards 2018

The second annual Tonic Awards, hosted by Jenni Murray DBE, held on Monday 19 March 2018 at the May Fair Hotel.

Our second annual Tonic Awards, hosted by broadcaster and journalist Jenni Murray DBE, celebrated the achievements of women who are changing the face of our theatre industry, and the projects, productions and organisations that are redefining the role of women in the performing arts. The event was generously supported by Boom Ents, Dewynters, JHI, May Fair Hotel, Nick Hern Books and WhatsOnStage, and our headline sponsor White Light.

The recipients of this year’s awards are; Emma de Souza, Clean Break Theatre Company, #WakingTheFeminists, The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, Steffi Holtz and Gina Abolins, Kully Thiarai, Lyn Gardner, Caryl Churchill, and Katie Mitchell.

2018 Tonic Awards Recipients

awards ceremony winner
Caro Newling and Emma de Souza

Emma de Souza

For her tireless commitment to bringing new audiences into London’s West End through Kids Week, which offers families the opportunity to experience theatre together at an affordable price.

The award was presented to Emma by Caro Newling, Vice President of the Society of London Theatres.

group photo of award ceremony winners
Clean Break Theatre Company

Clean Break Theatre Company

For forty years of work on the theme of women and the criminal justice system, giving opportunities to generation after generation of female creatives, and giving voice to women whose experiences are all too often silenced by society.

The award was presented to Chief Executive Lucy Perman and other representatives of Clean Break Theatre Company by Jennifer Joseph, an actor and Clean Break Theatre Company alumnus.

awards ceremony winner
Lian Bell

Waking the Feminists

For a brave and creative campaign to effect positive change in regards to representation of women in Irish theatre. The campaign was ultimately successful in its clear demands, and has gone on to effect wider change across the theatre industry in Ireland and beyond.

The award was presented to Lian Bell on behalf of Waking the Feminists by playwright Ursula Rani Sarma.

awards ceremony winner
Sarah Frankcom and Maxine Peake

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

For the consistency with which the theatre has programmed and foregrounded work about women, and within that, the diversity of women’s experiences. It has acted as a beacon of enlightened, exciting and nuanced programming.

The award was presented to Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, by actress Maxine Peake, whose recent credits at the Royal Exchange include A Streetcar Named Desire, The Striker and Hamlet, and who will shortly appear in Beckett’s Happy Days at the venue.

group photo of award ceremony winners
Gina Abolins, Vicki Featherstone and Steffi Holtz, photographed with Tracy-Ann Oberman)

Steffi Holtz and Gina Abolins

For their brave decision to speak up about inappropriate behaviour in their workplace, in spite of potential personal and professional repercussions, giving voice to the often unseen and unheard experiences of those working behind the scenes and in less high profile positions.

The award was presented to Steffi and Gina by Vicki Featherstone, Artistic Director at the Royal Court Theatre.

awards ceremony winner
Kully Thiarai and Charlotte Bennett

Kully Thiarai

For her achievements and ethos as an artistic director. In particular, her dedication and energy to creating theatre and artistic experiences for the communities around which the organisation she has led are based.

The award was presented to Kully by theatre director and Soho Theatre Associate Charlotte Bennett.

awards ceremony winner
Kwame Kwei-Armah and Lyn Gardner

Lyn Gardner

Journalist Lyn Gardner, for her dedication to showcasing new voices and productions as a theatre critic and her thoughtful contributions to debate within the theatre industry as a journalist.

The award was presented to Lyn by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic.

awards ceremony awards on table top

Caryl Churchill

Playwright Caryl Churchill, for an extraordinary career, in particular her consistent daring to defy form, leading the way for a new generation of female playwrights, breaking down walls within the theatre industry.

The award was presented to Caryl by playwright and screenwriter Moira Buffini.

awards ceremony winner
Katie Mitchell

Katie Mitchell

Director Katie Mitchell, for her game-changing artistic work, proactive support of younger female theatre artists, and dedication to foregrounding feminism on stage.

The award was presented to Katie by Lucy Kerbel, Director of Tonic Theatre.

The Tonic Awards 2018 was generously supported by Boom Ents, Dewynters, JHI, May Fair Hotel, Nick Hern Books and WhatsOnStage, and our headline sponsor White Light.

Tonic – For greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the arts