Prize director takes charge of Leeds co-production


Denzel Westley-Sanderson
Denzel Westley-Sanderson

Mountview Academy and Coventry University graduate Denzel Westley-Sanderson has won a chance to direct a full-scale production at Leeds Playhouse after winning the prestigious Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2021.

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and English Touring Theatre award, which honours the memory of RTST co-founder Sir Peter Hall, is made annually to a rising director who demonstrates exceptional directing skills.

As the winner of the 2021 award, Denzel will direct a full-scale production opening next autumn at Leeds Playhouse, a co-production between ETT and Leeds Playhouse, which will then tour the UK. The RTST will put £50,000 into the production.

Since graduating from Mountview’s MA theatre directing course in 2017, Denzel has worked extensively at London's Almeida, Donmar Warehouse, Park Theatre, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, the National Theatre and Stratford East on productions ranging from Ibsen's The Wild Duck to Jesus Christ Superstar.

James Brining, artistic director at Leeds Playhouse and a member of the selection panel, said: “We can’t wait to work with Denzel on what promises to be an exciting addition to our 2022 programme.”

ETT artistic director Richard Twyman and executive producer Sophie Scull added: “The award is unique in its ambition and scope. Denzel is a dynamic, intuitive director and we can’t wait to work with him.”