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28-Year-Old Roy Alexander Weise Receives 2016 JMK Young Director Award


The Trustees of the JMK Trust are happy to announce today that the winner of the 19th annual James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director Award is Roy Alexander Weise.

Chosen after a rigorous selection process from another record-breaking number of applicants this year, Roy has chosen Katori Hall's THE MOUNTAINTOP. Winner of the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the fictionalised account of the night before Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination will be staged in the autumn at the Young Vic, with tickets on sale soon. The two runners up this year were Chelsea Walker for Low Level Panic and Tom Bailey for The Human Voice. They will each receive a £1,000 award.

28-year-old Roy Alexander Weise from South West London, was most recently Trainee Director at the Royal Court Theatre and is now Associate Director for Harts Theatre Company. He trained on the BA Hons Directing course at Rose Bruford College and after graduating became a member of the Genesis Directors Network at the Young Vic and Associate Artist at The Red Room. He was first runner up for the JMK Award in 2014 and, in the same year, was the BBC Theatre Fellow at the Bush Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith. Roy's professional directing debut is Stone Face by Eve Leigh (currently playing at the Finborough Theatre until 11th June). Assistant director credits include: Hangmen (Royal Court and West End); X, Escaped Alone, You For Me For You, Primetime 2015, Violence and Son, Who Cares, Liberian Girl (Royal Court); Albion, We Are Proud to Present...(Bush Theatre); Public Enemy (Young Vic - Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director); Hamlet, The Government Inspector (Young Vic - Taking Part); The Serpent's Tooth (Talawa /Almeida Theatre). Television includes Trainee Director on Invisible (Red Room/Ballet Boys/C4).

On winning the award, he said: "Fifteen years ago I walked into a theatre to use the bathroom. I'd never even been in one before. And now, I'm directing this play - a story that means so much to me and so many other people - at one of the best theatres in the world with the JMK giving the kind of support that says 'we trust you and believe in you'."

JMK Trust Chair Stephen Fewell commented: "We first encountered Roy's work two years ago, when he was runner-up for the JMK Award in 2014, and in the meantime he has shown not only great tenacity in getting his own work on, but the ability to adapt and learn as part of the dynamic teams at the Bush and Royal Court theatres. His winning reflects the crucial importance of well-funded, long-term artist development: diverse pathways offering a distinct series of opportunities to directors nationwide.

"Like James, who the award itself commemorates, Roy's journey began in acting; he has a definite skill and facility with performers alongside the acumen and drive so essential for building both creative teams and a career. All this makes him precisely the sort of artist we set out to support, so I'm particularly thrilled that he has won this opportunity to bring his work to a wider audience. It's a privilege to be part of his journey."

Tickets for THE MOUNTAINTOP at the Young Vic will go on sale soon.

The JMK Trust was founded in the memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young director of great promise, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to give opportunities to theatre directors of similar ability and vision. Each year it gives one prestigious award to enable an outstanding applicant under 30 to create their own production of their choice of classic text, currently at the Young Vic in London. For many, winning the JMK Award is the breakthrough moment in their directing career. Increasingly, simply taking part in the Trust's unique, intensive development and selection process has itself given powerful impetus to the best theatre practitioners of the future. Previous winners have become major players in British theatre, such as Thea Sharrock, Orla O'Loughlin, Bijan Sheibani, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Natalie Abrahami, Michael Oakley, Cathal Cleary and Polly Findlay.

The Trust also runs an expanding Regional Directors Programme which provides year-round training, mentoring and support for directors of all ages. The twelve current partners in the programme are Bristol Old Vic, Direct North with HOME in Manchester and Bolton Octagon, Royal and Derngate Northampton, Salisbury Playhouse, Traverse Edinburgh, Birmingham Rep, Northern Stage, Nuffield Theatre Southampton, Sherman Cymru and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

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