Linbury Prize 2017 Finalists to Design for Lyric Hammersmith, Unicorn Theatre & More

The Linbury Prize is the UK's most prestigious award for Stage Design, providing a unique opportunity for graduating designers to work with some of the UK's leading theatre, opera and dance companies.

This year the members of the judging panel are renowned designers Tom Piper, Nicky Shaw and Rae Smith; the finalists will be designing for The Lyric Hammersmith; The Mercury Theatre Colchester; Phoenix Dance Theatre; and the Unicorn Theatre with English National Opera.

Twelve finalists will get the chance to work with the four production companies and exhibit their work at the National Theatre in November. Four of the twelve will win a commission to realise their designs with the participating companies, and one designer is awarded the overall winner's title.

The Linbury Prize for Stage Design was founded by Lady Anya Sainsbury in 1987 as a springboard for recent graduates from theatre design courses around the UK, giving applicants an unparalleled opportunity to work with professional arts companies and to collaborate with writers, directors and technical teams at a crucial stage in their careers.

Previous winners of the Linbury Prize include some of the most important stage designers working today, including Tim Hatley, whose work includes Timon of Athens at the NT, and Spamalot and Shrek the Musical in the West End and on Broadway; Anthony Ward, whose credits include Sweeney Todd at Chichester and in the West End and Headlong's Enron; and Vicki Mortimer, whose extensive work for the NT includes Othello and The Last of the Haussmans.

The Linbury Prize for Stage Design is sponsored by the Linbury Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. This year's finalists will be announced in July, with the overall winner announced in November.

The Linbury Prize committee comprises; Jon Bausor, Sean Crowley, Sophie Jump, Philip Lawford, Katrina Lindsay, Caro Newling (Chair), Christopher Oram, Tom Piper, David Pritchard, Anya Sainsbury.


Tom Piper's most recent productions include The King's Speech (Birmingham Rep, Chichester and UK tour); Mermaid (Shared Experience); Orfeo (Royal Opera House and Roundhouse); Tamburlaine The Great (Theatre For a New Audience, NY); The House That Will Not Stand (Tricycle); Hamlet, The Libertine, King Lear (Citizens, Glasgow); Bakersfield Mist (West End); The Big Meal (Theatre Royal Bath and Hightide); and Red Velvet (Tricycle and NY). He has worked at the National Theatre, Donmar, Soho, Dundee Rep, Bush, Gate Dublin, Nottingham Playhouse, Hampstead and Sheffield Crucible. Tom Piper was the Associate Designer of the RSC for ten years; recent work there includes Love for Love; Christmas Truce; Antony and Cleopatra (RSC/Miami/NY); Boris Godunov; Much Ado About Nothing; Macbeth; City Madam, and the complete History Cycle, for which he won the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for the Award for Best Set Design.

He was the designer for the critically acclaimed poppy installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, at the Tower of London. He received an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours, 2015. He also received the 'Contribution to London's Cultural Excellence' award at the London Awards and came first in The Telegraph's Briton of the Year in early 2015.

Nicky Shaw is an international set and costume designer. She trained at West Sussex & West Surrey Colleges of Art & Design and designs primarily for opera, but also theatre, musical theatre, t.v. and short film. Nicky works in the UK, but more extensively in continental Europe, has designed in Russia and had 2 productions in Seoul, South Korea. She regularly collaborates with director and opera intendant Annilese Miskimmon and they have produced many critically acclaimed opera productions together including: La Traviata, Scottish Opera (joint winner The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre); Mignon, Buxton Opera Festival (nominated Best Opera, South Bank Sky Awards); The Magic Flute, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Coronation of Poppea, Opera Theatre Company, Dublin (all nominated for Best Opera, Irish Times). They have been interviewed together for a feature, 'Women in Opera' by Jane Garvey, Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4 and by Sean Rafferty, In Tune, Radio 3.

Nicky was production & costume designer on the short film Assessment (winner - Jury Award, Film London's Best of Borough), written & directed by Mark Gutteridge and designed the musical Dancing Shadows (winner of 5 Korean Musical Awards), Opera Theatre, Seoul, directed by Paul Garrington.

Recent opera credits include: Jenufa, Royal Swedish Opera, Danish National Opera & Scottish Opera and Madama Butterfly, Glyndebourne on Tour, both directed by Annilese Miskimmon; Dead Man Walking, Royal Danish Opera, directed by Orpha Phelan and Peter Pan(costumes), Komische Oper & Welsh National Opera and Rossi's Orpheo, Royal Opera House at Sam Wanamaker Theatre, both directed by Keith Warner.

Nicky has also worked as an interior/commercial designer for projects with fashion designer and businessman Jasper Conran and as an exhibition designer, collaborating with Tim Pyne playing a crucial role in his company Work winning Millennium Dome zone Living Island

Rae Smith's designs at the NT include, The Light Princess and War Horse (Tony and Olivier Awards); The Goat at Theatre Royal Haymarket; This House at the Garrick and National Theatre; The Tempest at Birmingham Royal Ballet; Pelleas and Melisande for Scottish Opera; and Stella at Brighton Festival, Hoxton Hall and Holland Festival. Opera includes Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Met New York; Benvenuto Cellini at ENO; and The Ring Cycle which won the Grand Prix for outstanding achievement in Opera, at Opera Du Rhin. Dance includes Prince of the Pagodas at Birmingham Royal Ballet; and The Rite Of Spring and Petrushka for Fabulous Beast. Designs for forthcoming productions include Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic; Barber Shop Chronicles; Saint George and the Dragon at the National Theatre; and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Other work includes live drawing for War Horse in Concert with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.


The Lyric Hammersmith

The Lyric Hammersmith is one of the UK's leading producing theatres. For more than one hundred and twenty years it has been responsible for creating some of the UK's most adventurous and acclaimed theatrical work. It has gained a national reputation for its work with and for children and young people and creates pathways into the arts for young talent from all backgrounds, helping to diversify our industry. Recent productions include the smash hit Bugsy Malone, the international tour and co-production with Filter Theatre of A Midsummer Night's Dream and a new stage adaptation of Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet.

The Lyric's dual commitment to producing the highest quality contemporary theatre, alongside nurturing the creativity of young people is what makes it unique within the cultural ecology of the UK. It is a local theatre rooted in its community with a national and international reputation for the quality and innovation of its artistic work.

In April 2015 the Lyric reopened following a multi-million pound capital project, which saw the addition of the Reuben Foundation Wing housing state-of-the-art facilities for theatre, dance, film, music, digital and more. The 'new' Lyric is now the largest creative hub in West London and home to an innovative partnership of like-minded leading arts organisations who work together to deliver lifechanging creative opportunities for thousands of young West Londoners.

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

The Mercury Theatre Colchester is the most active producing theatre in East Anglia, and is a vital centre of excellence in the East's growing creative economy. The Mercury exists to put theatre at the heart of the community it serves and to make work in Colchester that reaches audiences and generates critical attention regionally and nationally.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

Formed in 1981 in the Harehills area of Leeds, Phoenix Dance Theatre has become one of the UK's most wellknown and respected contemporary dance companies. Touring to mid-scale venues internationally and across the UK, Phoenix presents a repertoire of work from both established and up-and-coming choreographers, focussing on producing compelling, entertaining and diverse mixed programmes. The work on stage is supported by a dedicated education programme which helps widen access to dance for people of all ages and abilities and provides world class training for young, aspiring contemporary dancers.

The Unicorn Theatre, London

The Unicorn Theatre, based in a specially-commissioned building at London Bridge since 2005, is the UK's leading professional theatre for young audiences, empowering them to explore the world through theatre.

Described as 'one of the most exciting places to see theatre in the UK...' (winner of the Peter Brook Award, 2014) and with 20 awards and nominations to its name over the last four years, the Unicorn strives to push the boundaries of imagination in everything that it does, welcoming families, schools, and young people for unforgettable theatrical experiences that will expand horizons, change perspectives and challenge how we all see and understand each other.

Year-round, the Unicorn works with some of the world's most exciting theatre-makers to produce, present and tour a surprising, innovative and broad range of work that is honest, refreshing and international in outlook. The Unicorn aims to change the perception of UK children's theatre for ever.

The Unicorn Theatre is developing a long term partnership with English National Opera to produce operas for young people.

The National Theatre is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. We produce productions on the South Bank in London each year, ranging from reimagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The National's work is seen on tour throughout the UK, in London's West End, internationally (including on Broadway) and in collaborations and co-productions with theatres across the country.

Across 2015-2016, the NT staged 34 productions and gave 3,134 performances in the UK and internationally. The NT's award-winning programme had a UK audience of 2.5 million, 700,000 of which were NT Live audiences.

The NT is committed to providing programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners, including the nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views. In 2015-2016, we engaged with over 181,000 participants through the NT Learning events programme. Further, over 2,600 secondary schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand. In Schools since its launch in September 2015.

Related Articles View More UK / West End Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You