What has happened in theatre since Arts Award was born?

This December, we'll be celebrating Arts Award's 10th Birthday by asking you to vote for the best of theatre from the last ten years! Here are some of our highlights to get you thinking…let us know what we've missed in the comments box.

What has happened in theatre since Arts Award was born?

In 2005, Billy Elliot opened on the West End. Billy Elliot seems to be a gold mine for everyone who touches it. The film made twenty times the amount of money it cost to make back in 2000, and the musical hasn't finished touring to this day!

James Corden made his acting debut in this play which no one expected to make such a huge career of its star. It did phenomenal global business on its debut in London and won that year's Tony and Olivier awards for Best Play, which is incredible considering how little experience these actors had.

War Horse has also been a huge hit in the West End, with exceptional puppetry skills, a moving storyline and that always popular subject of war.



August: Osage County signified a turning point in theatrical domestic comedy. The dark tale of the Weston sisters coming to terms with their own and their family's tumultuous past. The originality garnered it the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and secured itself firmly in the list of great American theatre.

Huey and Felicia's vibrant musical life in the 1950s is chronicled in Memphis and its now legendary music. The story matter about segregation in 1950s America made it a difficult play to development and took six years before it was ready to debut on Broadway in 2009. Since then, it's not stopped and is about to be picked up for a second season on the West End starring Beverley Knight and Matt Cardle.

By contrast to these successes, the following headline emerged, which no one was too surprised or too disappointed to read...We have heard however that the (still running) one man show of LOTR is a treat!



The creators of South Park hit the stage when they created the massive comedy, Book of Mormon. Not only did it mark the next stage in the creators' careers but also made stars of the main two cast members, making them huge in theatre and broke them into Hollywood with Josh Gad later playing Olaf the Snowman from Frozen, and Andrew Rannells having roles on Girls, The New Normal, How I Met Your Mother, and Glee.

James Corden features twice in this list not only because he's a supreme stage presence but because he's been a huge part of two of the biggest British global hits of the past ten years. The second of which being One Man, Two Guvners - for which he won that coveted Tony Award for Best Actor. The play brings an ancient Italian tale to Brighton, during 1963, in an inspired and clearly timeless play.

2011 also saw the small matter of the 25th anniversary of the highest grossing production in history, Phantom of the Opera.


The Telegraph

Kinky Boots has had such an impact on the conversation about gender that it'd be wrong not to mention it here. The musical was inspired by the film starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwetel Ejiofor which was inspired by a true story. A production of flamboyance, acceptance and tolerance which has plenty of lessons to teach - as well as getting the audience doubled over in laughter.

Not only is this one of the most expensive plays to create in history, it also holds the record for the highest grossing opening week on the West End with over £1 million. Of course, it's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory directed by Sam Mendes.


ATG Tickets

Finally, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time put the autism spectrum on stage is an inspired visualisation of what the disorder can be like. The Curious Incident... shares the record for most Olivier Awards one by a single play with seven awards. Just this year it won the Tony Award for Best Play. A comic mystery with a touching twist.

Think we've missed something? Let us know in the comments and we'll add it to the selection!

Header image courtesy of Flickr/MatthewPaulson


Bhavesh Jadva

Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team

Former Media Editor on Voice and former Arts Award Editor on AAoV covering film, TV, music and comedy.

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