Battle of Britain II: Viv vs Ian. Two big names of Anglophone theatre nominated for same lifetime achievement award

Elsewhere, noms are coming thick and fast for the team behind That Theatre production ‘Fly Me to the Moon’

Last year was a momentous one for Ian Burns, as not only did it mark the 25th anniversary of his group That Theatre Company, but it also brought its biggest ever haul of CPH Culture nominations, including a nod that sounds tailor-made for him.

‘Årets Hæderspris 2022’, the biggest honour annually bestowed by the theatre reviewer, recognises those who have made a “lifelong effort in Danish theatre as well as a very special effort in 2022”. 

It is a perfect fit for Burns in recognition of a landmark year in which That Theatre staged two well reviewed plays: ‘Rub-A-Dub-Dub’ and ‘Fly Me to the Moon’.

However, he faces fierce competition from one of his own: a fellow Brit who has been celebrating a special anniversary of her own.

Crazily strong case for Viv
Vivienne McKee has already won a 2021-22 CPH Culture award for the very performance she is nominated for again: as the title character in Willy Russell’s classic play ‘Shirley Valentine’.

When Burns moved to Denmark in 1990, it wasn’t long before he, like many English-language actors new to these shores, found work on McKee’s long-running ‘Crazy Christmas Cabaret’ show (its current run continues until January 14), which she had started just over a decade earlier – 2002 was its 40th anniversary year.

Burns appeared in three of the shows before embarking on his own, forming That Theatre in 1997. 

But now their paths are merging once again, although the odds of one of them winning are slim, as eight Danish big names from the world of theatre have also been selected.

Second time lucky for Dawn Wall?
Burns’ stable have certainly had a stellar year and, come February 1, they will be hopeful they can land That Theatre’s first ever CPH Culture award.

Across 25 different categories, That Theatre has scooped five nominations, including a Best Actress nod for Dawn Wall for her performance in ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ – the second time she has been shortlisted by CPH Culture. 

This time five years ago, she was nominated for Best Breakthrough for her star turn in another That Theatre production, ‘Educating Rita’ (another Willy Russell play!).

Nominated for that award this time around is her co-star Alexandra Jespersen for Best Breakthrough, while both ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ and Rub-A-Dub-Dub’ are shortlisted for Best Play of the Year originally written in a language other than Danish. 

The latter will be a joy for That Theatre resident playwright Fergal O’Byrne because the Irishman wrote it, and it is his second CPH Culture nomination for writing it.