The OnComm Theatre Awards

The OnComm Theatre Awards

With the stop-start nature of theatre over the last year, you might be forgiven for thinking that there wouldn’t and couldn’t be any awards made for productions which took to the stage during 2020. However, as followers of this blog will know there has been a wealth of stuff online. In response, OffWestEnd introduced a unique idea – the OnComms – recognising the best of this new development. OffWestEnd received over 350 submissions last year and have made nearly 150 online commendations; they have now announced the Oncomm Award Finalists


Geoffrey Brown, Director of OffWestEnd, has said “2020 devastated live theatre but it was fantastic to see so many companies, venues and creatives go online to develop and present new work, or to enable audiences to enjoy some great work from the archives.  The level of innovation in new work was really exciting, from the use of Zoom to imaginative immersive experiences.”

A full list of all 2020 OnComm awardees can be found here. The eventual winners will be announced at a special (virtual) ceremony on 21 February 2021, to be presented via Scenesaver. This will feature the OnComm Awards as well as the more traditional Offies for those productions which did make it to the stage during 2020.

Meanwhile, here’s the full list of finalists. Those marked * are ones which I have reviewed on this blog and I’m pleased to say that this is the overwhelming majority. Click on a title to see the full review; maybe you can predict the winners from what I had to say about them

Picture1ONCOMM FINALISTS 2021Picture1

  1. Recording pre-lockdown (direct – i.e., with little or no editing)

*Going Viral, Daniel Bye

*Hysteria, Spymonkey

*Jane Clegg, Finborough Theatre

*The House Of Bernarda Alba, Graeae

Category preview: here

  1. Recording pre-lockdown (edited – i.e., with significant editing)

*Bubble, Theatre Uncut

*Cyprus Avenue, Royal Court & Abbey Theatre

*Sea Wall, Simon Stephens

*The Encounter, Complicité

Category preview: here

  1. Recording post-lockdown (direct – i.e., with little or no editing)

*About 500, Simona Hughes

*Breathe by Neil Bebber

*This Evil Thing, Essential Theatre

*Within, Threedumb Theatre

Category preview: here

  1. Recording post-lockdown (edited – i.e., with significant editing)

*Birdsong Online, Original Theatre

*Midnight Your Time, Donmar Warehouse

*Rose, Ginger Quiff Media / Hope Mill Theatre

Wait For Me, Sam Cassidy

Category preview: here

  1. Live streamed (originally – may be presented later as a recording)

*Before After – A Musical Love Story, The Grey Area Theatre Company

*Cupid’s Corner, Parade Stone

*The Boss Of It All, New Perspectives / Soho Theatre

*The Poltergeist, Southwark Playhouse

Category preview: here

  1. Audio

*Contemporary Political Ethics (Or, How To Cheat), Traverse Theatre

*Not So Quiet on the Welsh Front, Front Room Theatre

*Rockets and Blue Lights Royal Exchange / Lockdown Theatre Festival

*The Barren Author, Barnaby Eaton-Jones

Category preview: here

  1. Platform based (presented using a platform such as Zoom)

*Agent Venture, The Adventure Is Real

*Alice, A Virtual Theme Park, Creation Theatre

Beige, MAGNA

*Richard III, The Show Must Go Online

Category preview here

  1. Series

15 Heroines: The Desert / The Labyrinth / The War, Jermyn St Theatre

*Digital Caravan Theatre, Small Truth

Press Play, Popelei & Emma Blackman

*Telling Tales, Muck + Rumble

Category preview here

  1. Immersive/Interactive

Dream Catcher, Blue Moon

*User Not Found, Dante or Die

*Viper Squad, CtrlAltRepeat

Wind in the Willows, Guildford Shakespeare Co

Category preview here

  1. Innovative

*For Quality Purposes, Stan’s Internet Café

*Snowflake: A Visual EP, MP Theatricals

*Truth to Power Café, Jeremy Goldstein & London Artists Projects

*What A Carve Up!, Lawrence Batley Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre and The Barn Theatre

Category preview here

  1. Shows for Young People 12+

*Crime of the Century, Chickenshed

*Guantanamo Boy, Half Moon Theatre

*I, Cinna (the poet), Tim Crouch / Unicorn

*North Country, Freedom Studios

Category preview here

  1. Shows for Children

*Michael Rosen’s Clever Cakes, Little Angel

*Paper Aeroplane, Half Moon Theatre

*The Twits, Unicorn Theatre

There’s a Bear On My Chair, Little Angel

Category preview here

  1. Family Shows

*Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chickenshed

Dream Catcher, Blue Moon Zoom

*Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown, King’s Head Theatre / Charles Court Opera

*The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington Sleeping Trees

Category preview here

Quite a number of the shows are still available to view – try the link at the bottom of each review to see which are still online. And I’ll be previewing the finalists over the coming weeks

For the full index of all online shows which have been reviewed – click here

To keep up with the blog and all the latest online theatre reviews please click here and choose a follow option

For my Theatre Online list (suggestions and news of newly released productions) please click here. This list is supplemented by daily updates on Twitter (@johnchapman398)


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