We are honoured and immensely grateful to our Trustee Sir Ian McKellen and to Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) to be one of the charities chosen to benefit from the profits generated by the West End season of Ian’s one-man show, Ian McKellen on Stage, at ATG’s Harold Pinter Theatre (September 2019 to January 2020). The funds are a major boost to our ability to continue supporting rising-star directors and regional theatres through our annual RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme. (26 Oct 2020)

Owing to the severe practical implications of the continuing Covid-19 crisis for arranging in-person director workshops and scheduling an Award winner’s touring production, we were not been able to launch and run our Award scheme in 2020. We intend to arrange and launch our next Award scheme as soon as circumstances permit. We fervently hope that will be in 2021. (20 Oct 2020)

“The vision of the Trustees of the RTST to enable this scheme to happen is building a bedrock for both mid-scale touring and future industry-leading directors.” Sam Hodges, Director & Aidan Grounds, Senior Producer, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

“…one of the key prizes for young* theatre directors in the UK” Daily Telegraph

The RTST operates an annual award scheme for up-and-coming theatre directors:  the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme (the “Scheme”).

The Scheme provides a rare opportunity for an up-and-coming director to direct a fully-funded production of a play as part of a main season of productions at a British regional theatre.

The RTST ran the inaugural Award in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres. The winner, Kate Hewitt, won the opportunity to direct the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine in the Crucible Studio Theatre. Tribes ran for three weeks in June and July 2017 and received excellent reviews. Kate’s directing career has since gone from strength to strength — including critical successes on the main stages of the Crucible, the Young Vic, London and Chichester Festival Theatre. For more information on the success of our 2016 Award scheme click here.

Chelsea Walker won the 2017 Award and the unique opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully-funded production of a classic play – A Streetcar Named Desire – co-produced by Nuffield Southampton Theatres, English Touring Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in 2018. The production premiered in the main house of NST’s new city-centre theatre, NST City, in March 2018 and then went on a tour of main houses of theatres across the UK. It opened to four star reviews from The Stage, The Times and The Guardian. For more information on the success of our 2017 Award scheme click here.

Nancy Medina was the winner of the 2018 Award and got the opportunity to direct Two Trains Running by August Wilson on the Royal Stage at Royal & Derngate in a co-production between Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre. The play was produced as part of Royal & Derngate’s “Made in Northampton” programme in 2019, and went on tour to the main stages of seven regional theatres, commencing in Northampton at Royal & Derngate in August 2019. For more information on the success of our 2018 Award scheme click here.

We launched our fourth award scheme with Curve Leicester, also partnering with Rose Theatre Kingston and English Touring Theatre in May 2019. Anthony Almeida was announced as the winner of the Award and will now get the opportunity to direct Tennessee William’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at Curve in a co-production between Curve, new partner Liverpool Everyman and English Touring Theatre (ETT). To find out more about the 2019 Award click here.

About The Award

The Award was established as the RTST Director Award scheme.  It was re-named the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme in October 2017 to honour the memory of the late Sir Peter Hall who was a co-founder and lifelong supporter of the RTST and widely acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in British theatre for over half a century.  Sir Peter’s family graciously endorsed the name-change. Our chairman, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said:

Sir Peter stood for artistic vision and integrity and a passionate belief in the importance of theatre to our culture and civilisation. He was a fervent champion of rising talent. The re-naming as the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award of our prestigious award to promote brilliant directors and regional theatre seemed to us to be the perfect way for the RTST to pay tribute to the man.”  

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme is designed for the benefit of directors who have already built up a track record of professional directing experience and who are ready for the opportunity provided by the Scheme to progress to directing a production in the main house, or a comparably high-profile auditorium, of a regional theatre.

The Scheme involves a collaboration between the RTST and a regional theatre selected by the RTST. 

The RTST makes a significant grant to the participating regional theatre to be applied towards the costs of the Award winner’s production.  It is a condition of the grant that the regional theatre facilitates the implementation of the Scheme and the realisation of that production. 

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner emerges from a rigorous competitive process among candidates.  To enter for the Scheme, a candidate must be UK resident and be able to demonstrate a professional track record as a director: this might be as an assistant and/or associate director and/or as a sole or lead director of professional theatre productions, subject to satisfying certain other qualifying criteria. *Candidates must be over 18 but there is no upper age limit.

Each candidate is required to submit, in writing, ideas for directing a play of their choosing at the participating regional theatre.  Certain criteria for the play are specified each year.  Shortlisted candidates are required to participate in directing workshops with actors in order to demonstrate their directorial skills.  Finalists are interviewed. 

The Award winner is selected by a panel of distinguished theatre practitioners appointed by the RTST.  There is an official runner-up. Panellists for the 2016 Award were Daniel Evans (Chair), Robert Hastie, Sir Ian McKellen CBE, Dawn Walton, Richard Wilson and Dame Penelope Wilton. Panellists for the 2017 Award were Sam Hodges (Chair),  Howard Brenton, Tamara Harvey, Patricia Hodge, Danny Lee Wynter, Stephanie Street and Richard Twyman. Panellists for the 2018 Award were James Dacre (Chair), Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, Sir Trevor Nunn CBE, Tanya Moodie, Samantha Bond, Paule Constable and Richard Twyman. Panellists for the 2019 Award are Chair Nikolai Foster, Jerry GunnCarol Leeming, Lindsay Posner, Grace Smart, Cathy Tyson, Richard Twyman and Erica Whyman

The Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways:

  • it supports emerging talent in the theatre; and
  • it supports British regional theatres.

The Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates, and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences. The winners in 2016, 2017 and 2018, were all women, including a woman of colour. Of the official runners-ups, three have been women and a woman of colour. The 2016 winner’s production, Tribes, addressed issues of deafness. The 2018 winner’s production, Two Trains Running, explores issues of race and has a cast of people of colour.

The RTST’s intention is to run the Scheme annually, and to work with different regional theatres.  The detailed terms of the Scheme in any given year will be published on the RTST’s website.  The terms may vary from year to year.