Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education award at UK Theatre Awards

30 October 2019

Derby Theatre is absolutely thrilled to have won the Excellence in Arts Education Award at the annual UK Theatre Awards ceremony, held at the Guildhall in London on Sunday 27 October.

The UK Theatre Awards are the only nationwide awards to honour and celebrate the outstanding achievements of regional and national theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The award was a new category for 2019 and the Theatre won it in recognition of its learning theatre vision, which has transformed the venue over the last six years, and in specific celebration of This is Derby. TID is a unique project delivered by Derby Theatre and other cultural and sports organisations in the city, including Derby County Community Trust, Cultural Campus: Derby's Cultural Education Partnership and the City's Sports Forum. Through this exciting collaboration and collective, the project has provided opportunities for young people to take part in high-quality arts, sports and cultural activities across the city with an overall ambition of empowering young people to improve essential life skills.

This is Derby supports the work of the Derby Opportunity Area, which aims to increase the number of children achieving a good level of development, improved attainment in schools and benefitting from a broad range of experiences. Thanks to funding provided by Arts Council England and the Opportunity Area the project will continue until 2020.

This is Derby is part of the Theatre’s unique learning vision. Derby Theatre is the UK’s leading professional producing and learning theatre. Owned by the University of Derby: the first ever Learning Theatre of its kind, recognised regionally, nationally and internationally as a unique model putting learning at the heart of professional theatre.

Derby Theatre is also delighted to have been nominated to the Best Show for Children and Young People Award for Noughts & Crosses, a Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Colchester Mercury and York Theatre Royal production.

Sarah Brigham (Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Derby Theatre) said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the UK Theatre Awards have introduced this award for the first time, and that we are the inaugural winners. We know that by ensuring all people, no matter what their background or age, have the right to an arts education is vital and at Derby Theatre, we have put that central to our vision.

"From our trailblazing work with young people in care, to our innovative This is Derby project, which works across the city in partnership with the Football Club and other arts organisations, our participatory work is changing lives and having impact on self-esteem and confidence. Our unique relationship with the University of Derby means we can offer world-class learning and research at all levels and by placing it at the heart of the artistic vision means we are supporting and empowering our audiences to broaden their horizons and engage new people in creative ways.

"Our professional productions have learning embedded and at the heart of them, whether that’s plays written in a way that is inspired by our communities, or co-authored and created with them, and we have lots of exciting plans over the next five years on how to evolve and develop this even further. A huge thank you to all of the team at Derby Theatre- each and every one of them is engaged in the Learning Theatre vision and it is their work, dedication and commitment which makes it a success.”

For further information contact the press office at