Judges of 2015 "Offies" say Secret Theatre "succeeded beyond all expectations"
The Lyric Hammersmith has won a Special Panel Award for Outstanding Achievement the 2015 "Offies" for its Secret Theatre season.
The "Offies" are annual awards run by website OffWestEnd.com celebrating London's independent theatres.
The Lyric said it was "proud" to have won the award for the Secret Theatre which was conceived by artistic director Sean Holmes in 2013 to perform while the theatre underwent substantial refurbishments, and which performed for the final time during a two week grand finale in February.
The Offies judging panel said: " This year the Special Panel Award celebrates the Secret Theatre season at Lyric Hammersmith for both its fearlessness and success in an ambitious undertaking.
" Not only did Secret Theatre bring European-style rep company working practices to the UK, where they are virtually defunct, but the company also evolved and transformed boldly throughout the season, jettisoning parts of their manifesto, refining others and thus bringing a genuinely experimental approach to their work.
"The company honestly put into practice the right to fail and succeeded beyond expectation. Over the course of the year, they built a company of individuals so keyed into each other they were able to tackle a very wide array of genres and styles while developing a distinctive artistic signature. Congratulations!"
Sean Holmes said: "Secret Theatre is an attempt to challenge every aspect of how we make work at the Lyric, building new structures that could lead to a new type of theatre.
" It is only now at the end of an extraordinary two years that I've discovered the central purpose of Secret Theatre. To show how the true potential of actors both individually and collectively can be released by the creation of a committed ensemble."
The Secret Theatre Company, whic also won Best Ensemble in The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence is Nadia Albina, Hammed Animashaun, Leo Bill, Caroline Bird, Sean Holmes, Cara Horgan, Joel Horwood, Matti Houghton, Arinze Kene, Adelle Leonce, Nick Manning, Ellen McDougall, Katherine Pearce, Lizzie Powell, Billy Seymour, Hyemi Shin, Hayley Squires, Simon Stephens, Sergo Vares and Steven Webb.
Other local theatres are also celebrating success in the awards, including the Bush Theatre in Shepherd's Bush, which scooping up six awards - four for its productions and two for the venue itself.
Most Promising Playwright went to Barney Norris for his play Visitors and Linda Bassett won Best Female for her part in the play which ran at the theatre in December.
Best Ensemble went to the cast of We Are Proud to Present and Best Sound Designer went to Isabel Waller-Bridge for Incognito.
The Bush was also awarded Best Theatre Bar and Best Foodie Experience in the north-west London category.
Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre described the Offies as "a really important celebration of independent theatres across out city" and said: "We are delighted that both our artists and our building continue to be recognised so broadly."
The Orange Tree in Richmond also did well, picking up four awards.
You can see a full list of winners in the 2015 Offies here
March 5, 2015