Marlowe Theatre: Canterbury venue named 'Theatre of the Year'

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Cardboard cut out characters in theatre seats
Image caption,
Around 500 cut-outs of famous theatrical and Kentish people filled the empty seats at the Marlowe Theatre

A theatre which used carboard cut-out characters to fill empty seats during the pandemic has received an award.

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent, was named Theatre of the Year at the Stage Awards on Monday, sharing the accolade with Battersea Arts Centre in London.

It gained attention after an artist created 500 cut-out characters which helped maintain social-distancing.

The venue says it was one of the first to reopen after lockdown was lifted.

It said the award was "testament to the immense creative achievements" of its team during the pandemic.

Image source, Marlowe Theatre
Image caption,
The Marlowe Theatre says it was among the first venues in the UK to reopen after lockdown

Portrait artist Ben Dickson created the 500 cut-out characters, depicting famous theatrical or Kentish people, which filled empty seats at the theatre auditorium.

Awards organisers, The Stage, praised the theatre for "its extraordinary engagement projects with artists and audiences".

It said the cut-outs "caught the public imagination and became emblematic of the theatre's creative response to the pandemic".

The Stage Awards celebrate "the greatest achievements in UK theatre" across the previous 12 months.

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