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Sonia Friedman makes history by being announced as The Stage's most influencial person in the performing arts world


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Each year theatre publication The Stage releases the ‘Stage 100’; a list of the UK’s most influential people in the performing arts world.

This year, theatre producer Sonia Friedman has topped the list for the first time.

She has previously won The Stage award for Producer of the Year twice, but this is the first time she has claimed the top spot on this list.

Not only is she the first woman to win since Stoll Moss Theatres boss Janet Holmes a Court in 1998, but she has made history by becoming the first winner not to own or operate any West End Theatres.

She took the title from by Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, the co-founders of Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) who had held the top spot since 2009. They stepped down this year, making them drop to 30th position.

But even had the pair not stepped down, it is clear that Friedman has been having a heavy influence on the industry.

Friedman has had an undoubtedly successful career. Having established Sonia Friedman Productions in 2002, she has won many awards over the years. In 2014 she made Olivier Awards history by winning the most awards for any producer, and since then she has moved from one hit show to another.

She came in second last year, having had hits including The Book of Mormon, but it was 2016 that really cemented her as one of our best (if not the best) theatre producers.

Her credits of the past year have been outstanding with new hit musical Dreamgirls, and revivals such as Funny Girl. She produced Mark Rylance’s new play Nice Fish, not to mention the incredibly successful Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

She beat vetran theatre maker Andrew Lloyd Webber, who came in second, and upon winning she said she was ‘very grateful.’

"I feel extremely lucky to do a job I love so much and to have had such a stimulating and creatively diverse year," she added.

The top ten were as follows:

1. Sonia Friedman
2. Andrew Lloyd Webber
3. Cameron Mackintosh and Nicholas Allott
4. Mark Cornell and Adam Kenwright
5. Rufus Norris, Lisa Burger and Ben Power
6. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer
7. Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon, Erica Whyman
8. David Lan and Lucy Woollatt
9. Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham
10. Emma Rice and Neil Constable

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