The RTST is delighted to be running its RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award in 2022 with Nottingham Playhouse.

The annual RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award is designed to provide an up-and-coming director with a first-time, career-breakthrough opportunity to originate and direct, as sole director, a fully-funded production as part of a main season of plays at a mid-scale British regional theatre and to provide grant support to that theatre to stage that production, which might, depending on the circumstances, tour to other venues.

The name of the Award honours the memory of the RTST’s co-founder Sir Peter Hall.

Sir Geoffrey Cass, RTST Chairman, and Mark Hawes, Director of the RTST said today, “We’re excited to be working with the inspiring Nottingham Playhouse team and with this year’s multi-perspective Selection Panel of theatre practitioners on the 2022 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award. Nottingham Playhouse is a truly outstanding producing theatre with a proven strong commitment to developing creative talent and nurturing local audiences. It’s therefore a perfect partner on our Award and a hugely worthy beneficiary of our £50,000 grant support for the Award-winner’s career-defining, first-time mid-scale main Season production in Autumn 2023. We encourage eligible directors to enter. It’s not all about the winning. For candidates who reach our in-person Director Workshops in particular, the process can provide meaningful experience and even spark industry connections.”

Adam Penford, Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse and Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive also commented: “We really admire what this prestigious fund delivers in terms of developing the next generation of directors and are delighted to partner with RTST. This builds on the artist development work we are already doing through our hugely successful Amplify programme. Making the transition from assistant directing and directing in smaller spaces to the main stage has always been tough, and in the current climate, it may well become increasingly so. This generous Award offers support to both the winning director and the producing theatre, whilst also introducing the work of all the brilliant shortlisted candidates to an influential panel.”


How the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2022 Works

The winner of the Award will win the opportunity to originate and direct a play (the “Production”) in the main season of plays to be staged at Nottingham Playhouse in Autumn 2023. The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2022 will be awarded to an up-and-coming director for demonstration of excellence and high promise in directing skills and appreciation of how to create theatre that appeals to audiences in Nottingham and potentially on a brief UK tour. The winner will emerge from a rigorous competitive process organised by the RTST in conjunction with Nottingham Playhouse. We are particularly keen to see candidates from a diversity of backgrounds, interests and needs.

For any candidate requiring access support, information on how we can help is provided (under the heading of “Accessibility”) in the “Rules and Information” mentioned below. We welcome entries from parents and carers who need to balance their caring responsibilities with their working lives.

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award opened for entries on Tuesday, 12 April, 2022 and closed for entries on Monday, 23 May, 2022.

Candidates were invited to pitch their ideas for directing a production that will bring together a range of exciting practitioners to create an imaginative, surprising and engaging production for the widest possible range of audience members. Candidates could choose 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 new and existing audiences. In the case of a proposed adaptation, a candidate had to specify their ideal choice of (living) writer to undertake the adaptation.

While it is intended that the play directed by the Award winner will be the play that is the subject of their entry, this outcome cannot be guaranteed owing to a variety of factors, such as: availability of rights; pre-arranged or historical programming at Nottingham Playhouse; and/or new ideas arising from the creative relationship struck between the winning director and Nottingham Playhouse. In previous years, the play ultimately directed by the winner has been different from the one featured in their entry, but, in every case, the play ultimately directed has been chosen by mutual agreement between the winner and the producing theatre.

Entries will be considered by the RTST with the assistance of Nottingham Playhouse with a view to producing a Long-list of up to 20 entries.

The Long-list will be submitted for consideration by a Selection Panel comprising: Niamh Cusack (actor); Beth Hinton-Lever (actor); Chair, Adam Penford (Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse); Beth Steel (writer); Stephanie Street (actor and writer); and Matthew Xia (Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company).

None of the members of the Selection Panel has served on a Selection Panel for the Award in recent years.

The Selection Panel will select a Short-list of up to eight candidates.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to Director Workshops in London on the weekend of Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 July 2022, at which they will be required to demonstrate their skills by directing actors in a text-based scene of a play, after which they will be interviewed by the Selection Panel. The particular scene will be settled with candidates in advance of the Workshops. The Selection Panel will observe the Workshops. On the second day of the Workshops, up to four finalists will be selected for a further interview, this being the final stage in the selection process.

The Selection Panel will choose the ultimate Award winner and official Runner-up, who will be publicly announced after the Workshops.

Although there can only be one Award-winner and one official Runner-up, the Award scheme is designed to provide a positive and meaningful professional experience for all the candidates who are selected for participation in the Workshops. They will all receive constructive feedback from the Selection Panel after the winner of the Award is announced. It is intended that the Award winner will benefit from the spotlight of publicity generated by the promotional activities of the RTST and Nottingham Playhouse in relation to the Award and the Production.

The winner’s success will be celebrated at an Award ceremony organised by the RTST, to which leading theatre practitioners will be invited.

(Photo by David Baird – www.david-baird.co.uk)

The RTST has agreed to make a grant of £50,000 to Nottingham Playhouse to be applied towards its costs of staging the Production. It is a condition of the grant that Nottingham Playhouse participates in the Award scheme and facilitates the Production. The Award winner will not be required to seek funding for the Production. The Award winner will be the sole director of the Production and will be paid a fee of £6,000 by Nottingham Playhouse for undertaking this role. The Production’s cast and stage crew will be paid at the prevailing UK Theatre rates or higher. There is a possibility that the Production will tour nationally but this is yet to be confirmed.

The official Runner-up will receive mentoring and professional support from Nottingham Playhouse.

For the rules of, and information about how to enter, the 2022 Award scheme, please visit our Rules & Information page.

Previous award winners and official runners-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award include Kate Hewitt and Rebecca Frecknall (2016); and Chelsea Walker and Tinuke Craig (2017); Nancy Medina and Josh Seymour (2018) and Anthony Almeida and Maria Crocker (2019). Denzel Westley-Sanderson was announced as the winner of the 2021 Award in November 2021. The runner-up was Nathan Crossan-Smith.

The RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme is run by the RTST, a registered charity, in fulfilment of its charitable objects. All of the RTST’s work in setting up and running the Award scheme to provide this unique career opportunity for directors and the associated catalytic production grant to a theatre company – in this case, Nottingham Playhouse – is undertaken by the RTST Director and the other Trustees and volunteers for no remuneration. The members of the Panel who are freelancers or acting in a personal capacity are offered fees. The production grant made by the RTST pursuant to the Award scheme is provided out of its charitable funds, which derive wholly from donations to the RTST.