The Society for Theatre Research is delighted to announce the winnder of the Theatre Book Prize (for books published in 2012):
Winner! Mr Foote's Other Leg
by Ian Kelly (Picador)
The Society for Theatre Research has awarded its annual Theatre Book Prize to actor Ian Kelly for his highly informative and entertaining book Mr Foote's Other Leg, published by Picador. The judging panel for the award was made up of actress Penelope Keith, Professor Gavin Henderson, Principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and theatre critic Henry Hitchings. The prize was presented by actor Timothy West (President of the STR), at the Palladium Theatre on Thursday 2nd May 2013 at a reception thronged with people from the worlds of entertainment, publishing and academia.
Ian Kelly, already the author of books on Casanova and Beau Brummel, starred in The Pitman Painters in both the West End and on Broadway and is currently filming Closed with Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall. Upon being announced as the 2013 prize-winner Kelly could not contain his surprise exclaiming: "I am an actor and I am speechless".
Mr Foote's Other Leg is a lively story that sheds light on the colourful world of 18th century theatre in London and focuses on the actor manager Samuel Foote who ran the Haymarket Theatre and famously lost a leg in a riding accident. Professor Gavin Henderson described the book as a "finely judged narrative" and "thoroughly entertaining" for Foote, a rival of fellow student of David Garrick, "sees the funny side of everything - including the amputation of his leg."
Receiving the award, Kelly described how he had not intended to write a book about theatre history but described being at the funeral for Roger Hammond and sitting beneath a 19th century plaque that read "a talented player of small roles. Well," he said "there is something wondrous, and a joy we share: theatre. It's an evanescent art form. But that is so much the power and importance of it." He went on to describe his motivation, saying the book "was born of wonderful tales told by old actors backstage. One of the joys of working in the theatre is what you learn not only onstage... but from, the cast as well."
A full report on the event can be found here.
See here for a full report and here for for a selection of photos from the ceremony.
The other shortlisted books were:
In Two Minds: A Biography of Jonathan Miller
by Kate Bassett (Oberon Books)
My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall
by John Major (Harper Press)
The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama
edited by Thomas Betteridge & Greg Walker (Oxford University Press)
Lena Ashwell: Actress, patriot, pioneer
by Margaret Leask (Hertford University Press/ STR)
The winner of the Theatre Book Prize was announced on Thursday 2nd May at a reception, in the Val Parnell Suite at the London Palladium.
The Society for Theatre Research thanks The Really Useful Theatres Group and Dewynters for their support of this event.
Members wishing to attend should contact email@example.com.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Miss Penelope Keith is perhaps best known to the nation for her many television appearances especially her roles as Margo Leadbetter The Good Life and Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in To the Manor Born and in 1997 she provided the voice of the narrator for Teletubbies. Her distinguished theatrical career began in repertory but in 1963 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and since has played many leading roles in classics and modern plays from Lady Bracknell in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's The Rivals and Epifania in Shaw's The Millionairess to Madame Arcati in Coward's Blithe Spirit, Hester Collyer, in Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea and Sarah in Ayckbourne's The Norman Conquests.
Since 1990 Miss Keith has served the profession as President of the Actors' Benevolent Fund and in the same year was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, being promoted to a Commander (CBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours List for "charitable services". In 2002 was for one year High Sheriff of Surrey, only the third woman to hold the post
Professor Gavin Henderson is Principal of the Central School of Speech and Drama. He first worked in theatre backstage on the Palace Pier at Brighton as a holiday job before going to art school. He studied at the Slade and won on a Goldsmith's scholarship to tour America but returned to take up a job front-of-house and doing publicity at Stoke-on-Trent's Victoria Theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of the York Triennial Festival in 1972 and Chief Executive of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1975. Moving to Bracknell in 1979 he established the Wilde Theatre and developed South Hill Park Arts Centre, then in 1984 he succeeded Sir Ian Hunter as Artistic Director of the Brighton Festival. In tandem he directed the Dartington International Summer School from 1985 (this he still runs alongside his role at Central) and was Principal of Trinity College of Music from 1994 to 2006. A founder Council member of Arts Council England, he has served on many arts bodies and received numerous awards, including a CBE in the2004 Birthday Honours.
Henry Hitchings, theatre critic of the London Evening Standard since 2009 is well known for his books as well as his journalism as well as journalist. He is the author of Dr Johnson's Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World, which won the Modern Language Association's prize for the best publication by an independent scholar in 2005. His second book, The Secret Life of Words, was published by John Murray in 2008 and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and in 2009 he was nominated for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. That year he also won a Somerset Maugham Award .His most recent book The Language Wars: A History of Proper English was published in 2011.
Press contact: Howard Loxton: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 020 7267 4513.
About the Theatre Book Prize
This prize was established to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Society for Theatre Research which was founded in 1948. It was first awarded for books published in 1997. Its aim is to encourage the writing and publication of books on theatre history and practice, both those which present the theatre of the past and those which record contemporary theatre for the future. It is presented annually for a book on British or British related theatre which an independent panel of judges considers to be the best published during the year.
All new works of original research first published in English are eligible except for play texts and studies of drama as literature. There are three judges, who are different each year. They are drawn from the ranks of people working in theatre performers, directors and others, theatre critics, senior academics concerned with theatre and theatre archivists, with a chairperson who is a member of the committee of the Society for Theatre Research.
Press enquiries and for press invitations contact: Howard Loxton email@example.com, tel: 020 7267 4513