Thu 14 Dec 2023

Every Brilliant Thing nominated for the Stage Awards 2024

Every Brilliant Thing, a Theatre by the Lake production in 2023, has been nominated.

The Stage Awards were launched in 2010 to highlight the achievements of theatre companies and individuals across the UK and globally. Now entering its fourteenth year, The Stage has awarded over 100 winners with its prestigious accolades, from national theatres and large-scale organisations to small theatres above pubs and individual unsung heroes behind the scenes.

Theatre by the Lake’s production of Every Brilliant Thing has been recognised by The Stage Awards in association with Tysers Live for the outstanding achievements we have achieved this past year.

With Every Brilliant Thing we aimed to have genuine social impact. Working in partnership with national and regional suicide prevention charities: Every Life Matters, Papyrus and Andy’s Man Club, it aimed to create space for and encourage conversation about suicide and suicide prevention, provide support for audiences and our local communities and raise awareness of this vital subject.

It is particularly relevant to Cumbria as many communities suffer from isolation, and suicide rates here are 50% higher than the national average (Suicide Rates in England and Wales by Local Authority 2021). In preparation for the production entering rehearsals, TBTL staff and volunteers undertook suicide awareness training with Every Life Matters, with many becoming Orange Button Holders – people who are able to listen and signpost for people in need.

Alongside the production, TBTL worked with local community organisations: We CAN Cumbria, Always Another Way, Healthy Hopes, Happy Mum’s Foundation and Andy’s Man Club to deliver workshops, share information and contribute to a dedicated exhibition, which was designed by the show’s Designer Alex Berry. Artistically spilling Every Brilliant Thing throughout the venue, At TBTL and on tour the exhibition was an accessible, fun, interactive experience that focused on brilliant and joyous things. Community groups and audience members were actively encouraged to share their brilliant things by writing on the walls and were able to listen, view and read brilliant things that had been contributed by others. The exhibition and community engagement work provided a unique experience for audiences to reflect on the show and engage in conversation about difficult subjects in a fun and uplifting way. Not all the groups TBTL worked with attended a performance, but we recognise that we are working with vulnerable people and that this is the beginning of our journey with these groups.

An innovative programme of post-show activity was also curated to enable reflection, connection and conversation about suicide and suicide prevention. EBT+Plus featured inspirational speakers including Andy Airey of 3 Dad’s Walking/Papyrus, Work in Progress performances that explore similar themes, Nature Walks, Knit and Natter sessions and several Q&A’s, where many audiences expressed the importance of taking this play into communities.

Following its run at TBTL, Every Brilliant Thing embarked on a tour to rurally isolated communities, visiting village halls and community centres as part of Highlights and Arts Out West autumn programme, where we were able to reach non-traditional theatre audiences and engage with further organisations including Lancaster Samaritans. The tour also took Every Brilliant Thing into schools, with two performances for Keswick School’s Year 10 cohort.

This project has developed our confidence and awareness of our ability to make work that contributes to social change and the response from the community and our partners shows that there is a need for it. We had a successful production run at TBTL and rural tour; the impact and opportunity they gave for audiences and community groups to connect and reflect about suicide awareness were much needed and appreciated.

The winner of each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, January 29, 2024 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London.