Artistic director accepts award

A SCARBOROUGH man has picked up an Olivier Award on behalf of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Tim Sheader, 39, has been artistic director at the theatre for the last three years. He collected the award for Best Musical Revival for his production of Into the Woods.

The 2011 Oliviers were celebrated with a glamorous, star-studded ceremony at Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London.

Imelda Staunton was the co-host of the ceremony with Michael Ball and she was in the original London production of Into the Woods.

Stephen Sondheim was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Oliviers. His musical credits include Into The Woods, Follies, A Little Night Music and Sunday In The Park With George.

Mr Sheader grew up in Scarborough and went to Wheatcroft and Graham Schools, along with Scarborough Sixth Form College.

He took a law degree at Birmingham University before moving into the theatre industry.

His mum Carol Sheader, who lives in Osgodby, said: “Tim took over from the previous artistic director at Regent’s Park who had been there around 18 years.

“He’s made a lot of changes and turned the park around by injecting some new ideas, introducing things other than Shakespeare.

“We’re very proud of him. What he has achieved is amazing really.”

Mrs Sheader added that her son also picked up three Olivier awards last year on behalf of the open air theatre.

And last month he was given the What’s On Stage best director award for his 2010 summer productions of Into the Woods and The Crucible.

Speaking about the latest honour, Mrs Sheader said: “It was a complete surprise. He was up against some big productions, but he’s had a fantastic season.”

Mr Sheader became Artistic Director of the theatre in November 2007. His first season, produced in 2008, consisted of productions of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi - staring Millicent Martin as Mamita and Topol as Honore - and an especially adapted production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for family audiences.

The 2009 season’s productions included Much Ado About Nothing, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest - adapted for family audiences - and Hello, Dolly!

The latter won several awards, including the much coveted Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical for its star Samantha Spiro.

Last year the theatre presented new productions of The Crucible, The Comedy of Errors and Macbeth, which was adapted for younger audiences. The season musical was Into the Woods. The production starred Hannah Waddingham, as the Witch, Jenna Russell, as the Baker’s Wife, and Helen Dallimore, as Cinderella. It was the first and only time that Into the Woods had been performed outside.

The 2011 season was announced in November and is to include a production of Lord of the Flies and George and Ira Gershwin’s Crazy for You.