Killology, a co-production between Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre and London’s Royal Court Theatre has won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre. The Olivier Awards are regarded as one of the highest accolades of the theatre industry in the UK. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 8 April.
This major award for Rachel O’Riordan’s world premiere production of Gary Owen’s play follows recent recognition for Sherman Theatre’s success under Rachel O’Riordan’s artistic directorship and the Sherman’s increasingly important role in UK Theatre. In January, Sherman Theatre won Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards 2018 recognising the Sherman as the most exciting theatre in the UK outside of London and Rachel O’Riordan appeared in the Stage 100, the definitive list of the most influential people in British Theatre.
Rachel O’Riordan has said: “I am absolutely over the moon to win this award. It means so much to be recognised by the Olivier Awards panel, and I feel very honoured. It is testament to the generosity of spirit demonstrated by Vicky Featherstone, whose belief in writers and artists is total and passionate. My creative partnership with Gary Owen is a joy, and we are proud to make his work come alive at the Sherman, for audiences in the capital of Wales. To work in partnership with the powerhouse Royal Court was particularly exciting. In the company of such extraordinary talent, winning an Oliver Award feels very special. The production teams at Royal Court and Sherman deserve enormous praise, as do all the other many people who work behind the scenes to make theatre happen”.
Co-productions are hugely important to Sherman Theatre, enabling the organisation to produce the best possible work for its audiences whilst giving exceptional Welsh and Wales based talent a UK-wide platform. Sherman Theatre’s strong relationship with the Royal Court is also a highly productive one. With Killology, Sherman Theatre became the first producing house in Wales to co-produce with this iconic powerhouse of new writing. The production, directed by Rachel O’Riordan, was rehearsed in and premiered at Sherman Theatre in the heart of the Welsh capital. The three-strong cast included Welsh actors Richard Mylan and Sion Daniel Young alongside Seán Gleeson. Killology’s run in Cardiff was a total sell out with the production then transferring to the Royal Court.
Killology, a powerful play about fatherhood, masculinity and violence, was the second collaboration between Welsh playwright Gary Owen and Rachel O’Riordan. It followed the huge success of Iphigenia in Splott which won best new play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2015 and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama for Gary Owen. Iphigenia in Splott played to sell out houses in Cardiff, at the Edinburgh Festival on tour across Wales and the rest of the UK and internationally in Berlin and New York. A four week run of performances at the National Theatre in London saw Sherman Theatre become the first Welsh producing house to have work transferred there. Killology was followed by a major re-imagining of The Cherry Orchard, written by Gary Owen and directed by Rachel O’Riordan, set in 1980s Pembrokeshire which, when it was performed at Sherman Theatre in Cardiff in October 2017, had its run extended due to popular demand.
Watch a message of thanks from Rachel O'Riordan.