Entertainment & Arts

Theatre honour for Prunella Scales and Timothy West

Timothy West and Prunella Scales
Image caption The couple's son, Samuel West, was formerly artistic director at the Sheffield Theatres.

British acting duo Timothy West and Prunella Scales will be honoured for their commitment to UK regional theatre at this weekend's Theatre Awards UK.

The couple will receive The Stage award for outstanding contribution to British Theatre at the annual awards ceremony in London on Sunday.

The pair, who rose to prominence working in repertory theatre during the 1950s, have been married since 1963.

Both have gone on to enjoy extensive careers in film and television.

While Scales remains best known for her turn as Sybil in the comedy series Fawlty Towers, the 80-year-old star's stage career has encompassed Shakespeare, Chekhov, Oscar Wilde and her long-running, one-woman show An Evening with Queen Victoria.

"Repertory was a brilliant way of learning the job," she told The Stage. "Audiences teach you such a lot. It's a great misfortune for young actors nowadays not to have that sort of experience".

West, who had a long-running role in TV's Brass, is celebrated, in particular, for his Shakespearean stage roles having played Lear three times and Macbeth and Falstaff twice.

"I very much still enjoy life on the road," he says. "I love playing to the people in the evening that you see in Sainsbury's in the morning. You feel part of a community. I personally feel a lift of the spirits every Monday when I'm in a different place, a different theatre.

This year's Theatre Awards, which celebrate regional theatre, will include a best touring production award, voted for by the public - with the Bristol Old Vic production of Swallows and Amazons among those in contention.

Formerly known as the TMAs, the annual awards are organised by the Theatrical Management Association. Nominees in the performance categories include Sweeney Todd's Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball for best performance in a musical, and Tim Pigott-Smith for his turn as King Lear.

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