Top Five English-Language Trailblazers 2015

Once again, there was an abundance of English-language theatre for audiences to choose from in 2015.

The Cph Stage festival in June continues to grow in size and was once again full to the brim with Anglophone content.

While Why Not Theatre continues to raise the ante, putting on an impressive number of shows.

Not to be outdone, That Theatre capped a fine year with what was probably the production of the year: Marathon. For many, the play is still running in their minds.

Next year, the 400th anniversay of Shakespeare’s death, promises much. We’re particularly looking forward to Shakespeare’s Ghost, a play penned by Vivienne McKee about the identity of the great man, which is scheduled to start on February 29.

Without further ado, here are our top five trailblazers of 2015.

5=/ Andrew Jeffers
Still best known for his comic role as ‘The Dame’ in the Crazy Christmas Cabaret (until Jan 9 at Tivoli), Andrew Jeffers has had an outstanding 2015 in mostly dramatic roles. He shone most brightly as an ageing Romeo in A Tender Thing.

5=/ Ian Burns
Copenhagen’s go-to English-language actor utilised his knowledge of running to get the most out of his charges in Marathon – his first play as a director. The way they were sweating, we’ll have to start calling him Sergeant-Major Burns. Next up (and for Jeffers) is Shakespeare’s Women in February.

4/ Benjamin Stender
Stender was Coe to Rasmus Mortensen’s Ovett in Marathon, giving a performance of intrigue, malevolence, vulnerability and athleticism. Look out for the 2014 Reumert winner (for That Theatre play The Woman in Black) in TT’s spring 2017 show.

3/ Vanessa Poole
There was nothing in the program to suggest CTC stalwart Vanessa Poole would steal the show in the spring production of Pygmalion. Down for three parts, she brought a strong, feminist, singular voice to her roles. A highly accomplished performer, she is equally adept at humour and pathos.

2/ Sue Hansen-Styles
Where does Sue get her energy from? No wonder she’s always dying on stage – in an outstandingly good way, may we add. Difficult to pick from her three Why Not Theatre shows this year: A Tender Thing, O, for the love of Shakespeare and Secrets. But if we had to single one out, it would be Secrets for the excitement it generated. Next up is Love and Money in the spring, which will see her reunite with Jeffers and Sira Stampe, who was number two on this list last year.

1/ Jeremy Thomas-Poulsen
He’s a secret no longer, if you’ll excuse the reference to his Why Not Theatre production this autumn, as he is now very much in demand on the Danish theatre scene, recently directing Vores By for Københavns Film og Teaterskole. His work on Pygmalion, by far the most ambitious CTC production we’ve ever reviewed, was impressive. From his clever adaptation to the sophisticated scenography and special effects, it was challenging, intriguingly ambiguous and highly visceral. And he even had time for two other productions, including Why Not Theatre’s Secrets. As long as he hangs around, his name will continue to be a byword for excellence.