Regional 'Vibrator' takes play honor

U.S. dramatist Sarah Ruhl beat Brit competish to win the top play prize for “In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)” at the 2012 Theater Awards U.K., presented at London’s Guildhall.

The awards, administered by the Theatrical Management Associates (TMA) are the only nationwide trophies for legit work all across the U.K, throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ruhl’s drama “In The Next Room,” which Lincoln Center Theater presented on Broadway in 2009, beat Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs” and David Hare’s “South Downs” in a production was the Ruhl play’s U.K. preem from regional house Theater Royal Bath.

This year’s spoils were evenly spread, with only Chichester Festival Theater receiving two, both for performances. Henry Goodman won performance in a play for the title role in “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” and Imelda Staunton won out over co-star Michael Ball for her perf as Mrs. Lovett in the hit staging of “Sweeney Todd.” The latter missed out on the musical award, which went to medium-scale new tuner “The Go-Between,” a West Yorkshire Playhouse, Royal and Derngate Northampton and Derby LIVE production with music by Richard Taylor and book by David Wood.

Director went to Garry Hynes for “DruidMurphy,” a presentation of a trilogy of plays by Tom Murphy for Druid Theater Company. Title toured to London’s Hampstead Theater and also to Gotham as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.

Aidan McCardle won supporting actor for his role in Sheffield Theater’s production of Michael Frayn’s “Democracy,” while Amanda Stoodley won best design for “Manchester Lines” and Manchester’s Library Theater.

Recognizing the importance of the road to the U.K. theater economy, the Renee Stepham Award for presentation of touring theater went to Music & Lyrics Limited, a consortium of the U.K.’s largest independent presenting venues. Org was founded in 2011 and is dedicated to the presentation of musical theater in all forms.

The touring production award, chosen by public vote, went to “Anne Boleyn,” a Shakespeare’s Globe production of a Howard Brenton play that was presented on tour by English Touring Theater.

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