Sunday February 3rd saw many of those active in the Off-West End world gather at the newly-refurbished Battersea Arts Centre for the 2019 OFFIES, celebrating the creativity and spirit of London’s off-West End theatre circuit.
Among a host of winners, four categories were won by Kander and Ebb musical THE RINK which played last Summer at the Southwark Playhouse, which won Best Actress (rightly shared between the two leads, Caroline O’Connor and Gemma Sutton) also Best Choreography (Fabian Aloise) and Musical Direction (Joe Bunker), and Best Musical Production. This was a well thought-through, tight, dynamic production with the two stars rightly winning together as their performances were absolutely inextricable. I do hope that this success means that many others will have the chance to see this excellently-staged and sold-out show in another run. Southwark did feel like just the right place for this show.
Other big winners included the Bush Theatre, whose productions MISTY and LEAVE TAKING won awards, and the Artistic Director Award went to the Bush’s outgoing Madani Younis (who has just started as Creative Director at the South Bank Centre) for his 2018 season of work at the much-respected Shepherd’s Bush venue.
The much-anticipated Producer of the Year award went to Sally Wood, and with her hits last year including the Clement and La Frenais comedy CHASING BONO at the Soho Theatre and the -capital F- Fantastic Bronte sisters’ mash-up WASTED at Southwark Playhouse (multi-nominated for a stunning lead performance by Natasha J Barnes as well as Best New Musical – which it should have won in both categories!). Sally, you absolutely deserve it!
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, which forcefully remind us that Off-West-End Theatre is in remarkably good creative health. Here’s to the year ahead!
For a full list of nominees and winners, please see here