Nominations announcement for The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2018

Flight Pattern. Artists of The Royal Ballet. ©ROH, 2017. Photographed by Tristram Kenton.

A host of outstanding performers, artists, musicians, authors and films have been nominated for The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2018. Now in its 22nd year, the prestigious annual awards ceremony will take place at The Savoy Hotel in London on Sunday 1 July 2018, celebrating the wide range of creative talent Britain has to offer, from Stormzy to Paddington 2.

Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards this year will continue its legacy as the only awards ceremony in the world to represent the entire spectrum of the arts, with categories for TV Drama, Classical Music, Theatre, Comedy, Dance, Film, Visual Art, Pop, Literature and Opera.

Christopher Nolan’s nail-biting war epic Dunkirk is nominated in an incredibly strong Film category, which includes the hilarious Paddington 2 and independent filmmaking success Lady Macbeth. Meanwhile, Olivier Award-winning productions The Ferryman and Follies are nominated in the Theatre category.

This year’s dance category nominees are Russell Maliphant Company with their Maliphantworks, The Royal Ballet’s Flight Pattern and English National Ballet for Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring).

L-R: The South Bank Sky Arts Awards designer Yinka Shonibare MBE, with Melvyn Bragg

The celebration also includes The Times Breakthrough Award, recognising achievements made by newcomers across the full range of the arts; previous winners include Amma Asante, Tom Hiddleston, Billie Piper and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a cellist whose star is on the rise following his captivating performance at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The climax of the event is the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented for continued excellence in British culture; previous winners include Harold Pinter, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tracey Emin, J K Rowling and Helen Mirren.

Melvyn Bragg said: “The Creative Industries generate £92 billion a year, and yet the funding cuts in the arts in schools are very worrying. A recent study of 1,200 secondary schools found that 90% had cut back on arts teachers, facilities and equipment. Since 2010, there has been a 28% drop in pupils taking arts GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of arts teachers being trained. This means that the future of everything we stand for and everything we’re good at is being threatened. But what we also stand for are events like these awards, which show how rich and diverse the arts in this country are.”

Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “With funding for the arts and arts education facing challenging times, Sky Arts’ work supporting artists and the creative industries is more important than ever. We are proud to host The South Bank Sky Arts Awards which reflect the breadth and diversity of talent and voices in the creative industries.”

Artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, Fellow of the Royal Academy, has been commissioned to design this year’s award, which he describes as an expression of how he supports the importance of the Arts as they remain of value to our humanity.

An unmissable event in the British awards calendar, the ceremony will be held at The Savoy Hotel in London on Sunday 1 July 2018, and will be broadcast on Sky Arts later in the week.

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