Brickenden Awards to end

Catharine Brickenden

After 20 years, the organizing committee of the Brickenden Awards has decided to wind down the annual awards. In her announcement message, Brickenden chair Jane Hanbuch says “the time has come for a new generation of thespians to decide how to best promote, celebrate, and recognize the theatre community here in London.”

With less live theatre being performed during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic the group had presented only the two non-performance-related awards (Best Original Script and the Chris Doty Award) for the 2020-2021 season. The awards had been hoped to resume in January 2024 after a full season of adjudications.

The Brickenden Awards were conceived in the summer of 2002 by Chris Doty, and announced later that year. Doty chose the first set of awards “to goad the actors, directors and writers into exploring new types of scripts and improving the fundamentals of their craft”; with the assistance of Theatre in founders Jeff Culbert and Sean Wilson, members of the public were also able to participate in some of the choices. From 2003 to 2008 the awards were selected solely by adjudication panels, with public input for most awards returning in 2009.

A complete history of the early awards is available at, as well as lists of nominees and winners.

Theatre in thanks all of those who were involved with, supported, and attended the Brickenden Awards over their 20-year history.

2 thoughts on “Brickenden Awards to end”

  1. If you’d like to participate in developing a proposal for a different model of recognition for local theatre, please visit the “New Theatre Awards” page.

  2. Sookie Mei says:

    I posted this on FB earlier:

    It’s the end of an era. So many emotions and memories came up when I heard the news that the Brickenden Awards are no longer. Here are a few:

    First and foremost, I think of Chris Doty, and all that he did to support and promote London theatre, and to recognize the tremendous amount of work that takes place every year on stages throughout the city. Thanks to you, Chris, for showing us that local theatre is important and worthy of celebration.

    On those special Brickenden evenings, I cherished gathering with people from all walks of life who were joined together by our love of theatre. It was a unique opportunity to meet up with old friends and strangers, former cast and crew mates, kids just doing their first show and adults who have been treading the boards for decades. Everyone joining together to say “Way to go, us!” I will miss that camaraderie.

    The excitement of your show being nominated, and anxiously waiting for the category to be called. That push/pull of “I’m so happy we won – this is the best” vs. “We lost? This is bullshit!” It didn’t really matter in the end, it was all about the journey, the experiences we had putting the show together, the laughs and stress and magic moments and forgetting lines and directing for the first time and seven people in the audience and lifelong friendships formed. The Bricks reminded us of all that.

    I was fortunate to be asked to co-host the Brickendens one year with my dear friend and theatre colleague Lesleigh Turner. We had such a good time planning the show, thinking up jokes and getting help from friends. Some of the best laughs of my life were from that night, including getting stuck in a dress backstage while Lesleigh and I tried to do a quick outfit swap! When I think of the Brickendens, I think of the late, great Lesleigh, and am grateful for those memories.

    I always had a great time at the after parties, most often held at TAP. Everyone was in a good mood, we all looked fabulous, and we could celebrate each other with great food and drinks. One year there was even some undulating meat that possibly only Michael James Brown and I noticed! The party was another chance to feel like London royalty, going to the big celebrity party after the awards ceremony and schmoozing with industry types. I raise a glass to the Brickenden afterparty.

    Speaking of looking fabulous, everyone looked great throughout the years. I am saddened that we will have one less reason to dress up all snazzy and admire everyone’s outfits! I can’t count the number of times I have purchased a dress nowhere near Brickenden time, already planning to wear it to the big night. I probably still have some “Bricks dresses” that I haven’t even worn yet…well, as Emily Aine Le Fae says, we need to make more opportunities to dress up in this town! There goes one of the best.

    In 2020, I was honoured to be chosen as the recipient of the Chris Doty Award, which I refer to as the “Lifetime Achievement, You Are Done” award! After all these years of slaving over a hot stage, it was so nice to be recognized as the theatre lover that I am, and will continue to be, despite the award! It was a fabulous night for me, with my good friend Patricia Black bringing me on stage, and all my old pals and thespian buddies cheering me on. Another cherished memory, and I will always have the hardware to remind me of it!

    I want to send out my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Brickenden founders, board, panel members, and volunteers who put on this crazy show throughout the years. I know it was a tremendous amount of work, and I am extremely appreciative, recognizing the contributions made to our local theatre world. Because of you, we could take a big-picture view of London theatre, and give ourselves just a little pat on the back. Thank you.

    Okay, theatre friends…what’s next?

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