THE YEAR OF THE TIGER
What a triumph for the Society of London Theatre! The Olivier Awards 2012 presentation was glitzier and more impressive than ever. The most spectacular celebration of West End theatre ever, I would think, and certainly one to rival Broadway’s Tony Awards. Surely the ceremony now deserves to be screened on a mainstream TV channel.
My production of THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA was, to my surprise and delight, nominated in the Best Entertainment and Family category, following our season at the Vaudeville. As I escorted Judith Kerr, creator of the classic book I was privileged to adapt, up the red carpet towards the wondrous Royal Opera House, I couldn’t help feeling proud that we had received the first ever Olivier nomination for a show created specially for under-fives.
Children’s theatre has never been officially recognised with an Olivier category of its own, perhaps because the West End never regularly featured much. But, mainly thanks to Nimax, we have recently seen THE GRUFFALO, ROOM ON THE BROOM, WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT, and POTTED POTTER, plus a SANTA CLAUS show at the Ambassadors and PEPPA PIG at the Criterion.
Not just at Christmas time, but in the summer and, with HORRIBLE HISTORIES, through the spring. And family shows like THE RAILWAY CHILDREN and SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS have been successful, not to mention WAR HORSE, which, though not really a children’s show, was based on a children’s book.
It seems that theatre for children – even the youngest – has become mainstream. Producers now accept that getting children into the theatre is a good investment for the future. And, despite the relatively low seat price, it makes financial sense. Nick Brooke and Kenny Wax, my TIGER producers, have proved this.
We didn’t win! We were defeated by Derren Brown, whose show was brilliant, but not for children. The fact we were competing with each other was because our category appears to include shows that the judges enjoyed but didn’t see fitting into any of the other categories.
One fact for anoraks. Both TIGER and Derren had input from the devilishly clever Scott Penrose, Vice-President of The Magic Circle.
Finally, I’m delighted to report that TIGER will be back in the West End for a summer season 2012, opening July 4th at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
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