The shortlisted nominees for the 2024 ‘UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre’ at the UK Theatre Awards, which include Curve in Leicester, the National Youth Theatre in London and the Nottingham Playhouse.
Venue applications have been judged by an industry panel on how welcoming they are in terms of ‘place’, ‘people’ and ‘programme’. Judges considered building design and commitment to accessibility, as well as outreach projects, interactions with theatregoers, staff, freelancers and the local community.
The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the organisations behind the awards, confirmed that customer journey and website accessibility was also taken into account.
“Each year we enjoy celebrating the theatres that go above and beyond to provide accessible and inclusive hubs for audiences, casts and creatives,” said Hannah Essex, co-chief executive of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre.
“With a huge array of wonderful theatres to choose from, the finalists are three very different venues that stood out for unique reasons, but there is a common quality among them – their mission to give back to their local communities and supporters. The panel are very much looking forward to their visits in the coming weeks, and to crowning the overall winner at the UK Theatre Awards in October.”
Curve’s CEO Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster, said: “All of us at Curve strive to make our theatre a welcoming, inclusive and accessible place for all. From audiences to artists, workshop leaders to community members and those just stepping inside to take a look around, we pride ourselves on offering a warm welcome. We truly believe everyone should be able to engage with theatre and all of us at Curve are delighted to have been recognised with this nomination.”
Following the shortlist, the industry panel will now visit the locations in person to determine the overall winner. The awards ceremony will be held on October 8.
Paul Roseby, CEO and artistic director of National Youth Theatre, said: “Our award-winning venue champions live theatre and offers a creative home for thousands of young people. Open 7 days a week, we meet a diversity of needs creatively through our staff, programme and accessible spaces. I’m pleased that our efforts to welcome all have been recognised by the UK Theatre Awards.”
Adam Penford, artistic director of Nottingham Playhouse, added: “We are thrilled to be selected as finalists. Our mission is for Nottingham Playhouse to be a space where everyone feels they belong. It’s what drives our staff to go above and beyond; our programming to be reflective of our city; our Participation programmes to be diverse and inclusive, and the experience for our audience to be second to none.”