Kate Hewitt won the JMK Award 2014. Her production of Far Away by Caryl Churchill was at the Young Vic in November 2014. Roy Alexander Weise was the runner up with his production of The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg.
Caryl Churchill, writer of Far Away, said: “The JMK award seems to lead to good productions by young directors. I've enjoyed Thea Sharrock's Top Girls and Caroline Steinbeis' Mad Forest and look forward to seeing Kate Hewitt's Far Away.”
Kate Hewitt, originally from Newcastle but now resident in London, is Resident Director on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was part of the original creative team in 2013. Associate director credits include Headlong Theatre Company’s Medea (UK tour 2012-13), Electra (Gate Theatre 2011 & Latitude festival 2011). As Assistant Director, she’s worked on Wild Swans (Young Vic & A.R.T Boston USA) Clybourne Park (Theatre 2011 & Royal Court 2010), Through a Glass Darkly (The Almeida 2010), Breathing Irregular (The Gate, 2010). Kate trained in Lecoq physical theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts after studying Drama at Goldsmiths, and received a Jerwood Assistant Director Award (2012).
Roy Alexander Weise, from Brixton, London, is to direct The Man in the Green Jacket at Jermyn Street Theatre in July. His past work includes You Are What You Are with Talawa Theatre Company (2013), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain at the Young Vic (2013) Skeen at the Ovalhouse (2012) and Invisible Mice (2011). He is the BBC Theatre Fellow at the Bush and Lyric Hammersmith theatres (2013/14).
Winner Kate Hewitt said: “Winning the JMK award allows me to take the thrilling next steps towards creating my own work, but most significantly with the confidence of the JMK Trust behind me. The rigour and care that goes into the JMK's varied approach to finding the finalists stops it being about someone who can write a great application and it raises your game as a director before you've entered the rehearsal room. All of the previous winners are brilliant directors and to be included in that world is a privilege. The JMK allows me the incredible opportunity to apply myself in a fully committed way to a staggering play, to venture out as a director making my own work, and also connects me to a network and world of very exciting practitioners and collaborators. I'm thrilled.
“I trained in physical theatre and classical text and this play offers a rich world to bring together the varied fields of my background. Through the three acts we witness key episodes of lead character Joan’s life from childhood into adulthood. Far Away presents me with possibilities and questions, which is a great place to start. It is by no means limited to one particular way of staging, putting me in an exciting position as a director. The play moves from naturalism to the surreal and I was hooked one of the best opening scenes I’ve ever come across.
“Like all good theatre, the play encourages you to question oneself and the world we live in. There is something so refreshing about engaging with a piece of writing that is deeply relevant and yet not overtly topical. Far Away explores how we are lied to, and most importantly, the way we ourselves collude with those that lie to us. Far Away has more than stood the test of time since its first production in 2000, it is still a vital piece of work.”
Stephen Fewell, Chair of the JMK Trust, said: “Kate is an exciting and worthy winner of this year’s JMK Award.
“The financial necessities of life can, understandably, lead talented emerging directors down the path of looking after existing theatre productions, where their skills are recognized and rewarded. However it can prove tough to leave the world of staff or resident direction and risk that livelihood in the quest to originate your own work.
“All theatre is collaborative, and Kate and her team impressed with their creative and original ideas for this modern classic. But it was Kate’s skill with actors that has secured her this year’s JMK Award and, with the support of the Young Vic, the rare opportunity to take that risk.”
The finalists in 2014 were Hannah Banister, Phil Bartlett, Jessica Edwards, Kate O'Connor, Tara Robinson and James Yeatman.