Mandy Actors UK

​Royal Court theatre's artistic director tops The Stage 100 power list

The Royal Court theatre artistic director Vicky Featherstone has topped a British theatre power list for her reaction to sexual harassment claims within the industry.

4th January 2018
/ By Matthew Whitehouse

Vicky Featherstone GETTY

According to theatre publication The Stage – who create the annual list – her “swift and proactive” response is what landed her the number one spot as the most influential person in theatre.

Featherstone, 50, is the third woman to top Stage 100 and takes the place of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer, Sonia Friedman who placed first last year.

A panel of journalists and critics chose Featherstone for her response in the wake of the recent wave of sexual abuse allegations within the industry.

They said: “She was the first and strongest voice to speak out against historic and ongoing abuses of power in the theatre industry,”

Featherstone said it was “a total shock and honour to be recognised by The Stage for our work around No Grey Area, especially among this list of theatre heroines and heroes”.

“I share this with the fearless and passionate team and board at the Royal Court. But mostly, it is affirmation to the brave women and men who spoke out about their experiences that they are being taken seriously and proof that my theatre colleagues, with the power to do so, are listening and that we can achieve fundamental change. As an industry, we are once more leading the way,” she said.

The Stage editor Alistair Smith said putting the list together was difficult this year “at a time when theatre is still coming to terms with abuses of power within the entertainment industry”.

“In that context, a number of figures challenging the status quo feature within the full list, but none has been more prominent than Vicky Featherstone. Through her bold and swift action in the wake of allegations in the US against Harvey Weinstein, she ensured that British theatre took the opportunity to face up to its own historic and ongoing challenges around workplace harassment,” he said.

The Stage 100 list was founded 22 years ago.

Other prominent theatre figures to make the list this year include Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda at number nine, Imelda Staunton at 26 and artistic director of the Young Vic Kwame Kwei-Armah at 20.