Kate Bush, Grayson Perry and Matilda are among the winners of the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, one of the world’s most coveted arts awards, celebrating the best of British culture and achievement and broadcast live on Sky Arts 1 HD this evening (25th January).
In a glittering ceremony attended by some of the most illustrious patrons, practitioners and performers in the arts, the winners in visual art, theatre, opera, dance, comedy, classical music, pop, TV drama, literature and film were presented with their awards, designed and signed by Turner prize winning sculptor Anish Kapoor. Hosted as ever by Melvyn Bragg, this is the sixteenth year of the awards and its second year in association with Sky Arts.
The award-winning author Michael Frayn was honoured with the award for Outstanding Achievement, in association with The Dorchester, for a career that has kept him at the top of his field for more than forty years. The award was presented to Michael Frayn by Sir Tom Stoppard.
The Pop Music category was a female only affair for the first time in the prize’s history. Sir Tom Jones presented the award to Kate Bush who triumphed with 50 Words for Snow, her first album in six years. She saw off huge competition from Adele’s globally acclaimed 21 and PJ Harvey’s Mercury Prize winning album Let England Shake.
We Need to Talk About Kevin, the widely acclaimed adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel, directed by Lynne Ramsay won the Best Film category, against competition from Joe Cornish’s aliens vs hoodies debut Attack The Block and the breakout documentary of the last year, Senna. The award was presented by the actor Jason Isaacs.
Grayson Perry triumphed in the hotly contested Visual Arts category, which was presented by Tracey Emin. Fighting off completion from David Hockney and David Chipperfield, the artist carried off the trophy for his exhibition The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman at the British Museum
In what was generally acknowledged as a very strong year for original theatre, critics’ favourite Matilda received the award from Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball up against strong competition from the National Theatre’s One Man Two Guvnors, currently enjoying rave reviews on Broadway, and Constellations at the Royal Court.
Trumpeter Alison Balsom, opera singer Noah Stewart and jazz singer Gregory Porter performed at the awards, which took place at The Dorchester. Rob Brydon, Lily Cole, Wayne Sleep and Sir Terry Pratchett were just some of the other presenters involved in this year’s ceremony.
This year, Sky Arts will bring the much-missed South Bank Show to television, which was cancelled by in 2010 after 32 years on screen. The new series will begin on Sky Arts 1 on Sunday 27 May at 9pm. The subjects for this year’s series will be announced imminently.
SOUTH BANK SKY ARTS AWARDS 2011: THE WINNERS
Outstanding Achievement in association with The Dorchester, presented by Sir Tom Stoppard: Michael Frayn
Classical Music: Llŷr Williams – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Cycle
Presented by Alison Balsom. Other nominees were Harrison Birtwistle’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra with Christian Tetzlaff and The Boston Symphony Orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall and Sir Colin Davis and the LSO: Nielsen’s Symphony Cycle at the Barbican
Comedy: Fresh Meat, Channel 4
Presented by Rob Brydon. Other nominees were Twenty Twelve, BBC4 and Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, BBC2
Dance: The Metamorphosis, Arthur Pita, Linbury Studio Theatre
Presented by Wayne Sleep. Other nominees were Zoo Nation, Some Like it Hip Hop, Sadlers Wells and Akram Khan, Desh, The Curve
Film: We Need to Talk About Kevin
Presented by Dominic West. Other nominees were Senna and Attack the Block
Literature: Charles Dickens: A Life, Claire Tomalin
Presented by Sir Terry Pratchett. Other nominees were Pure by Andrew Miller and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Opera: The Damnation of Faust, ENO
Presented by Ian Bostridge. Other nominees were Mignon, Buxton Festival and Heart of Darkness, Linbury, Royal Opera
Pop: Kate Bush, 50 Words for Snow
Presented by Sir Tom Jones. Other nominees were Adele, 21 and PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
Theatre: Matilda, Royal Shakespeare Company, Cambridge Theatre
Presented by Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball. Other nominees were One Man Two Guvnors, National Theatre and Constellations, Royal Court
TV Drama: Sherlock, BBC1
Presented by Jason Isaacs. Other nominees were This is England ’88, Channel 4 and Top Boy, Channel 4
Visual Art: Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, British Museum
Presented by Tracey Emin. Other nominees were David Chipperfield, The Hepworth Wakefield and David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy
Times Breakthrough Award, as voted by readers of The Times: Sophie Bevan
Presented by Nicola Benedetti. Other nominees were Adam Riches for comedy, David Bates for Classical Music, Yonah Acosta for Dance, Felicity Jones for Film, Stephen Kelman for Literaure, Michael Kiwanuka for Pop, Joseph Drake for Theatre, Jessica Raine for TV Drama and Haroon Mirza for Visual Art
“I don’t think anyone envied our judges for their impossible decision this year,” commented Melvyn Bragg. “With such a strong and vibrant array of winners, from Kate Bush to Matilda, to the ENO, this is a wonderful opportunity to praise the incredible wealth of artistic brilliance we have in this country.”
“Sky Arts is delighted to be associated for another year with these eminent and unique awards,” comments James Hunt, Channel Director of Sky Arts. “It has been an enormous honour to be involved in this particularly special year, as we welcome back The South Bank Show later this month: proof, if it were ever needed, that the arts are truly flourishing on television.”
Red carpet highlights, interviews with all the winners, clips of the nominated programmes and all the latest images from the night’s events will be free to view online at www.sky.com/southbank