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Natalie O'Donoghue's Nominations For The 2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards

One of our reviewers shares her top picks!

Natalie O'Donoghue's Nominations For The 2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards

Due to theatre in the West End opening up ahead of theatre at home in Glasgow, I saw more London productions than I normally would over the last six months.

While I didn't see a single 'bad' show, I'd single Frozen out for most of my nominations, including Best Production of a New Musical, as I was completely blown away by it. As you can shortlist up to four performers, I've picked both Samantha Barks and Stephanie McKeon as my Leading Performer In A Musical, alongside Christopher Oram for Scenic and Costume Design, Neil Austin for Lighting Design and Peter Hylenski for Sound Design.

One of our new awards for this year is the Accessibility Champion and I feel that it is one of our most important categories. During the pandemic, it was seen that it was viable to move some productions online and offer streaming options for people to watch at home. It didn't seem unreasonable to hope that going forward we might see more of a range of options for accessing theatre but, sadly, that hasn't been the case.

In October 2021 Shona Louise (@shonalouiseblog on Twitter) published an open letter to the commercial theatre industry challenging the lack of accessibility from the booking process and seating availability through to the experience of attending productions in person. Shona has consistently held the industry accountable and raised awareness among her theatregoing peers, and I can't think of anyone more worthy of the title Accessibility Champion!

Another new category for this year is Lockdown Hero, which can be anyone that you feel helped theatre (or yourself!) get through lockdown. My nomination for this one has to be Nica Burns, who opened Nimax theatres as early as possible with social distancing, running at a loss to ensure that actors had work and audiences could embrace the opportunity to get back to the theatre. Burns' actions speak volumes when her more vocal counterparts were quietly making staff redundant and cutting orchestras.

My nominations are a bit Disney-heavy, but two five-star productions I saw on tour this year were Bedknobs and Broomsticks at Glasgow's King's Theatre and Beauty and the Beast at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Although I had mixed feelings about some of the in-person shows, my nomination for Special Event is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There was a significant amount of shows that moved online for streaming and this made the festival far more accessible to both audiences and performers - and is something I definitely hope to see more of in the future.

Submit your own nominations for shortlist now and let us know who you're voting for on Twitter @BroadwayWorldUK!

Photo credit: Johan Persson for Disney's Frozen

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