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Recent graduate wins Best Director at The Stage Debut Awards

Atri Banerjee has been awarded the directing prize for the stage play Hobson’s Choice.

Hobson's Choice rehearsals. Image by Marc Brenner

Recent MFA Theatre Directing graduate Atri Banerjee won ‘Best Director’ at this year’s prestigious The Stage Debut Awards ceremony. Banerjee was selected for his work as director on Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange in Manchester this summer. The play, originally written by Harold Brighouse in 1961, was adapted by playwright Tanika Gupta 16 years ago in a version that follows a widowed Ugandan-Asian tailor and his family in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. 

Before his directorial debut, Banerjee completed an MFA in Theatre Directing and had interned at the National Theatre as a Press Assistant. He stepped in to direct the play just a week before rehearsals were scheduled to begin; the play was met with rave reviews. Banerjee is currently a resident director at the Almeida Theatre in London.

Rob Swain, Programme Director of the MFA Theatre Directing programme commented:

“We are delighted that Atri has won this Stage Debut Award less than a year after completing the MFA Theatre Directing programme. Atri was given a secondment at the Royal Exchange as part of the MFA programme and we are so pleased that he was able to make the most of the opportunity to direct a major production in such a prestigious theatre so early in his career. The Stage Debut Awards are designed to highlight the leading theatre-makers of the future and we are sure he will have a very bright one.”

Atri said:

“It's such an honour to have won The Stage Debut Award: thank you so much to Birkbeck and the Theatre Directing MFA for the training and opportunities I was given as part of my two years on the programme. Through the course at Birkbeck, I learned invaluable skills, made important contacts, and found a professional home at the Royal Exchange. It's brilliant to be recognised with this Award and I'm so grateful to Birkbeck for the support and the platform.”

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