Anthony Almedia won the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2019.

The RTST ran the 2019 Award scheme with Curve in Leicester. On 30 August 2019, Anthony Almeida was announced as the winner of the Award and got the opportunity to direct Tennessee William’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at Curve in a co-production between Curve, Liverpool Everyman and English Touring Theatre (ETT). The play is being staged as part of Curve’s Made in Curve programme and will subsequently go on national tour with ETT. The production, supported by a grant of £50,000 from the RTST to Curve, was to have opened and toured in 2020 – with co-producers Rose Theatre Kingston and Alexandra Palace also originally on board – but was delayed owing to the pandemic. The production began its two week run at Curve on 6 September 2021 and will then transfer to Liverpool (22 September to 2 October inclusive), and then go on tour through to early November. The play opened to four star reviews including from The Guardian and The Stage.

The 2019 runner-up was Maria Crocker.

Press Night 8th September 2021 (Photo Matthew Cawrey)

Anthony and Maria were selected by a panel comprising: Nikolai Foster (Artistic Director of Curve) as chair, and judges Jerry Gunn (Executive Producer at Rose Theatre Kingston), Carol Leeming (Poet and Playwright, Resident Assistant Director of Curve), Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre), Lindsay Posner (Theatre Director), Grace Smart (Theatre Set & Costume Designer), Cathy Tyson (Actor), Erica Whyman (Deputy Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company).

Anthony was presented with his award at a special ceremony on Sunday 10 November 2019, held at The Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe. You can find out more about Anthony and his career in our Winners & Runners-Up section.

Winner, Anthony Almeida said: “Being named the 2019 winner of the mighty RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award is a gift. I’m feeling moved. I’m feeling ecstatic. At a time of ever increasing financial uncertainty, when up-and-coming directors can be seen as unnecessary risks, this opportunity is a true lifeline. The process encouraged and challenged all of me. It offers genuine warmth and demands utmost rigour. Now there’s work to be made – I’m thrilled to be taking the vital next steps in my artistic adventures with the big-hearted, wildly ambitious folk at Curve, ETT and Rose Theatre Kingston – to you all, and to the essential RTST: thank you.”

Anthony being presented with his award by Chairman Sir Geoffrey Cass

Chairman of the RTST, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said: “The 2019 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award had 8 finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 53 candidates. Directing workshops – held over two full days, in which the finalists had to direct actors, observed by our immensely experienced panel of judges, and then be interviewed by the panel – constituted a unique and exacting test of their directing skills. The winner’s prize is the exceptional opportunity to direct a production that will premiere on the stage of Curve, Leicester, move on to the Rose Theatre, Kingston, then go on a main-stage national tour with English Touring Theatre (ETT). The RTST’s collaboration with Leicester’s Curve, Kingston’s Rose Theatre, and English Touring Theatre is admirably fulfilling the RTST’s twin primary charitable objectives of identifying and encouraging emerging theatre professionals and promoting British regional theatre”.

RTST Director Mark Hawes with stars of The Colour Purple

Deputy Chairman, Mark Hawes, said: “This unique Award propels Anthony Almeida deservedly into mid-scale regional tour direction. While there can only be one winner, the selection process has given other hugely talented directors rare and valuable exposure to the influential theatre practitioners who served on the judging panel.”

Curve Chief Executive Chris Stafford, Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre Richard Twyman and Rose Theatre Kingston Executive Producer Jerry Gunn said: “Anthony impressed the entire panel with his vision, rigour and ability to inspire actors. He showed a real passion for making work for audiences outside of London and we’re incredibly excited to collaborate with him on this production which will be seen in Leicester, Kingston and across the UK. We’d like to thank all of the directors that took part in the workshop weekend, who displayed such talent and inspired us all with their commitment to the process and craft of directing.”

Anthony was the Associate Director on the Almeida’s production of The Doctor, freely adapted from Shnitzler’s Professor Bernardi and directed by Robert Icke. The production, starring Juliet Stevenson, played at the Adelaide Festival in Australia in February/March 2020. It transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End in Summer 2020.

How the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Worked

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme opened for entries on 14 May 2019 and closed on 1 July 2019.

Candidates were invited to pitch their ideas for directing a production that will bring together a diverse range of exciting practitioners to create an imaginative, surprising and popular production for the widest possible audiences in Leicester, Kingston upon Thames and elsewhere in the UK. Candidates could have chosen a classic or modern play (in English or otherwise), or an adaptation of a novel or film. The candidate’s ideas for their chosen play had to demonstrate their artistic potential and the potential of their production to cultivate large audiences.  As part of the Entry Form, candidates were asked to write a letter setting out their vision to the Artistic Director at Curve, the Executive Producer at Rose Theatre Kingston and the Artistic Director at ETT.

Written entries were considered by the RTST with the assistance of Curve with a view to producing a Long-list of up to 20 entries.  The Long-list was then submitted for consideration by our Selection Panel. The Selection Panel then selected eight short-listed candidates: Anthony Almeida, Maria Crocker, Jessica Edwards, Poppy Rowley, Josh Seymour, Anthony Simpson-Pike, Alexander Sutton and Lucy Wray.

The 2019 Panel (in order as written above)

The short-listed candidates were invited to workshops on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August 2019, at which they were required to demonstrate their directorial skills by directing actors in a text-based scene of a play.

On the second day of the workshops, up to four finalists were selected for interview, this being the final stage in the selection process.

The Selection Panel choose the ultimate Award winner and runner-up. The winner and runner-up was announced on 30 August 2019.

Although there is only one Award winner and one official runner-up, the Scheme was designed to provide a positive professional experience for all the candidates (up to eight) who are selected on the basis of their written entries to participate in the workshop stage of the selection process.  They all received constructive feedback from the Selection Panel after the winner of the Award was announced.

The winner’s success was celebrated at an Award ceremony organised by the RTST in November 2019.

The RTST made a grant of £50,000 to Curve applied towards its costs of staging the Production.