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The South Bank Sky Arts Awards

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrate 20th Anniversary as 2016 nominees announced

The South Bank Awards logo

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards are the only awards in the world that focus on the arts in their entirety honouring the very best of British culture and achievement. Today marks the announcement of the 2016 nominees whilst simultaneously celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the awards, due to take place on Sunday June 5th 2016.

Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, the ceremony remains the highlight of the UK arts calendar and continues to shine a light on a wide range of outstanding achievers from across the arts world. This year’s nominees range from electronica band Years & Years to an embroidery of the Magna Carta to mark its 800th anniversary. Banksy celebrates 25 years of street art with a nomination for Dismaland while the TV adaptation of Wolf Hall consolidates the success of Hilary Mantel’s previous South Bank Sky Arts Awards win for Bring Up The Bodies. Meanwhile new dance productions including Northern Ballet’s 1984 are celebrated alongside the Almeida’s politically charged contemporary production of Aeschylus’ Oresteia in the most varied awards ceremony in the world.

As one of the world’s most coveted arts awards, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards are the only awards to span the full range of cultural output in the ten categories of Dance, Opera, Comedy, TV Drama, Literature, Classical Music,

Pop, Film, Visual Art and Theatre, along with The Times Breakthrough Award which recognises up and coming talent and an Outstanding Achievement Award.

In a first for the awards, two nominees of The Times Breakthrough Award have also been nominated amongst the best of their art for a South Bank Sky Arts Award in their respective categories. Michaela Coel’s sitcom Chewing Gum is nominated in the Comedy category, and Mark Simpson is up for nomination for The Immortal in the Classical Music category.

Artist Cornelia Parker receives a second nomination, this time for her exhibition Magna Carta at the British Library, up against Banksy’s Dismaland and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Serpentine Gallery exhibition Verses After Dusk. Other nominations include historical drama Wolf Hall in the TV Drama category alongside Humans and Doctor Foster, and nominated in the Film category are Ex Machina, 45 Years and Brooklyn. In the Theatre category, three hit productions Oresteia, People, Places & Things and Hangmen go head to head while in the Pop category, Benjamin Clementine, Years & Years, and Sleaford Mods are up for nomination.

Melvyn Bragg said: “The South Bank Sky Arts Awards freeze-frame on a unique moment in British cultural history. It’s when thirty nominees in ten categories across the Arts, from Opera to Pop Music, from Comedy to Theatre, meet to celebrate the best work being done by artists in this country across a wide range of ages and backgrounds. There are world-class performances, the awards of Scholarships to new artists on top of the Awards to the winners judged by an independent panel, all resulting in a 90 minute programme which gives us a rich picture of where we are now in an area of achievement in which at the moment Britain can claim to be in a dominating position. This is the 20th of these annual Awards and a ripple through the records shows an extraordinary tapestry of talent ever-changing but always the same in its high quality.”

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: “We are very proud to be the TV home for The South Bank Show and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards – they are programmes and events that over the years have transcended TV to have a deeper cultural impact, forming a lasting and important record of the Arts over the last 38 years. The Awards themselves bring together probably the most inspiring room full of creative people it’s possible to assemble and, for us, it’s without doubt the most anticipated and exciting event of the Sky Arts year.”

The awards originated in 1997 in association with The South Bank Show and Melvyn Bragg has served as editor and host of the awards since their inception. The South Bank Sky Arts Awards have been at the very forefront of

the arts in the last two decades, celebrating the best of culture. Twenty years ago, the inaugural awards rewarded the likes of classic sitcom Father Ted, which won the Comedy award, while critically acclaimed performances from David Suchet and Diana Rigg in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? secured a win in the Theatre award. Meanwhile, Matthew Bourne stormed the dance world with his retelling of Swan Lake, scooping the award

for Dance.

The South Bank Show and Sky have formed a unique relationship, working together through four ‘pillars’ to support the arts both on and off-screen. The pillars are: The South Bank Show, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards, The South Bank Show Originals and Sky Academy arts scholarships. A unique event in the British awards calendar, this year’s ceremony will be held at London’s Savoy Hotel on Sunday 5th June, and broadcast on Sky Arts on Wednesday 8th June.

For further information and details visit:




• Stephen Hough International Piano Series: Debussy and Chopin Royal Festival Hall

• City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Andris Nelsons’ Farewell Concert Symphony Hall

• Mark Simpson The Immortal


• The Wolf Border, Sarah Hall

• The Year of the Runaways, Sunjeev Sahota

• The Past, Tessa Hadley


• Oresteia, Almeida Theatre

• People, Places & Things. National Theatre and Headlong

• Hangmen, Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre


• Benjamin Clementine, At Least for Now

• Years &Years, Communion

• Sleaford Mods, Key Markets


• Catastrophe, Channel 4

• Peter Kay’s Car Share, BBC One

• Chewing Gum, E4


• Wolf Hall, BBC Two

• Humans, Channel 4

• Doctor Foster, BBC One


• Krol Roger, Royal Opera House

• Saul, Glyndebourne

• Force of Destiny, English National Opera


• Cornelia Parker: Magna Carta (An Embroidery), The British Library

• Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Verses After Dusk, Serpentine Gallery

• Banksy: Dismaland Bemusement Park


• Ex Machina

• 45 Years

• Brooklyn


• Woolf Works, The Royal Ballet

• 1984, Northern Ballet

• Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me), Lost Dog

Notes To Editors:

Events Overview

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.Past winners include Seamus Heaney, Amy Winehouse, Alan Bennett, Gilbert and George, Grayson Perry, FKA Twigs, Rachel Whiteread, Anthony Gormley, Florence and the Machine, Kate Bush, Ted Hughes, and Hilary Mantel. Winners of multiple South Bank Sky Arts Awards in their individual categories include artist Anish Kapoor, director Shane Meadows, band The Arctic Monkeys, director Sam Mendes, author Ian McEwan and playwright Michael Frayn. Michael Frayn also went on to win the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012.

Other Outstanding Achievement Award winners over the years include Sir Peter Hall, Harold Pinter, Sir Tom Stoppard, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Richard Attenborough, JK Rowling, The Who, Dame Judi Dench, Julie Walters, Tracey Emin and last year’s winner Sylvie Guillem.

The Four Pillars

The South Bank Show and Sky have formed a unique relationship, working together through four ‘pillars’ to support the arts both on and off-screen

The South Bank Show

The longest-running flagship arts show on television, The South Bank Show returns to Sky Arts in June with brand new episodes on subjects including Russell T Davies and Ballet Black.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards are the only awards in the world that focus on every genre of the arts, right across the board. This year’s ceremony will take place on Sunday 5 June at The Savoy in London, and will be shown on Sky Arts on Wednesday 8 June.

The South Bank Show Originals

Melvyn Bragg revisits classic interviews from The South Bank Show archive in 30 new episodes arriving on Sky Arts this year. A stellar line-up includes Elizabeth Taylor, Björk, Richard Attenborough, Kay Mellor and many more.

Sky Academy Arts Scholarships

We believe that every young person has potential; they just need the right opportunities to unlock it. Sky Academy works with young people from primary school right through to starting their career, using the passion we share for TV, creativity or sport, to build skills and experience.

We link up with schools and bring together inspirational role models to offer a range of opportunities, supported by Sky staff and well-known faces from our TV channels.

One way we do this is through Sky Academy Arts Scholarships, which support five emerging artists from the UK and Ireland each year, providing mentoring and financial support to give them the time and freedom they need to develop their craft and take their work to the next level. Each artist receives £30,000 – more than the winner of the Turner Prize.

For more information visit our website www.sky.com/academy

Director’s Cut Productions

Directors Cut Productions is an independent television production company based in Central London. Set up in 2010 by Melvyn Bragg and Cathy Haslam, who had worked together for 10 years at ITV, the company produces Arts and History Documentaries for UK television broadcasters. Directors Cut Productions produce all South Bank Show branded programmes for Sky Arts as well as producing the Sky Arts South Bank Awards event.

Source: Sky Corporate

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