21 June 2023

Following the success of the Award in 2021 and 2022, ABTT is delighted to announce that the Stephen Joseph Award is live once more for 2023 and open for nominations!

Designed to recognise innovative and inclusive theatre excellence in today’s British theatre, this year’s Award was officially launched on Tuesday 20th June as an ongoing tribute to Joseph’s contribution to our theatre culture.

The aim of the Award is to celebrate the variety of ways contemporary theatre practitioners continue to break new ground in engaging their audiences.

The award is open for submissions about ongoing work from theatre companies, individual theatre artists or directors or from those producing work in non-traditional performance environments. Nominations can be made by theatres, practitioners or the general public. Details about submitting nominations can be found below.

In 2022, the Stephen Joseph Award was presented to Conor Mitchell, artistic director of the Belfast Ensemble for their innovative approach to staging contemporary Belfast-generated opera and for their achievement in reaching and engaging new audiences.

Conor Mitchel said of receiving the Award in 2022:

Receiving this award was a key moment for The Belfast Ensemble. Key, because it brought into the focus the achievements of the many technical artists we pride ourselves on working with. Their work has pushed each production forward, expanding our shared creativity into new, even more innovative directions. Recognition by their esteemed peers of the Stephen Joseph Award has meant the world to them, and our audiences.

The Stephen Joseph Award was created to honour Stephen Joseph, one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the last century. A founding father of ABTT and the Society of Theatre Consultants he promoted new writing, architectural standards and technical excellence, pioneered theatre in the round and adaptable staging. At the heart of his practice lay the close and fundamental relationship between performer and audience. The award serves to honour this legacy and to celebrate the variety of ways contemporary theatre practitioners continue to break new ground in engaging their audiences.

How to nominate:

Who and what are eligible for the Award?

It can be a living individual or a twenty-first century company or a non-traditional performance environment. In each case, the work produced will have demonstrated a creative and adventurous relationship between performance and audience. Submissions are welcome from theatres large or small, long-established companies or emerging artists.

Preference will be given to work produced or environments created in the United Kingdom, and to work whose creativity and achievement have been widely acknowledged. Submissions from artists/organisations who submitted in 2022 but were unsuccessful will be accepted in 2023 so long as they are fresh submissions.

What are the criteria?
The nominated individual, company or space will have demonstrated:

1. A high level of creative skill and innovation in creating the theatrical experience/s
2. Work created for or in non-traditional, adaptable or in-the-round performance spaces

The creation of live theatrical events in which traditional barriers between actor and audience are removed or challenged.

What evidence is needed?
This can be any combination of – production photos, video clips, designs, newspaper or media reviews, and testimonials.

Who can nominate?
Anyone with a good knowledge of the nominee. This can include members of the theatre/company being nominated, the nominee him or herself; or members of the general public.

When do nominations close?
Monday 16th October

How to submit?
Send your nominations to the ABTT at  Please include:

1. Your contact details
2. Details of the nominee (with contact details where possible) and a short 250 word statement clearly explaining why the individual, company or performance environment is being put forward for the award
3. A short 250 word statement from a seconder: someone else with personal knowledge or experience of the work or person being nominated
4. Supporting evidence such as photos, video clips, designs, reviews, and testimonials.

When will the awards be presented?
Friday 8th December at the ABTT Christmas Party at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London.