The Birmingham theatre company behind the acclaimed Of All The People In All The World exhibition scooped the top prize at the Creative City Awards in a sparkling event attended by the cream of Birmingham’s creative talent.
Stan’s Café were awarded the Creative Industries Award in a ceremony hosted by NEC chief executive Paul Thandi and BBC Breakfast presenter Kate Silverton at the ICC.
The theatre company, formed in 1991, devises original and unusual productions from its base in Birmingham and tours them internationally.
Chair of the judging panel and Birmingham City Council creative development team business co-ordinator Carol Alderson said: “They have had a very exciting 2008 mainly due to their “Grains of Rice” exhibition that has gone around Europe and back.
“They also do exemplary work in the community promoting the arts around schools and other community establishments.”
LHM Media, a full-service digital agency working across the online and mobile sectors, scooped the Creative City Innovation Award.
Ms Alderson said: “LHM Media represent the strength of small creative businesses in Birmingham. They are a young company, offer a variety of services and do a lot of good work in new media as well as boasting national and international contracts and clients.
The judges awarded the innovation prize to LHM Media because of its unique “Broadcast” mobile system which has been a key driver for the business.
The Outstanding Business Development (Birmingham) Award went to the Electric Cinema.
The Electric Cinema, the oldest working cinema in the UK, was restored and reopened in December 2004.
Electric Cinema managing director Tom Lawes has recently carried out a major physical expansion of the business with the addition of a second screen and the development of a recording studio in the basement of the building.
Ms Alderson said: “Electric Cinema’s managing director Tom Lawes has done an incredible job since he took over.
“As well as giving the building a major makeover, he has led the company through the challenging financial climate and continues to employ staff to his growing roster.”
But the judging panel felt design, marketing and advertising firm Substrakt also deserved special commendation in this category.
“The panel were very impressed with how Andy Hartwell had managed the growth of the business, leading to increased turnover, profitability and number of
employees and wanted to commend him on businesses performance,” the judges said.
The Outstanding Business Development (Regional) Award went to Digital Native Academy (DNA), an interactive digital media company that specialises in entertainment and serious games.
The judges said DNA’s network of contacts, its membership of the region’s Interactive Digital Media Group, and close collaboration with the region’s universities had meant the firm had been able to focus its business development activities more precisely.
“Digital Native Academy is quite a special company - they have achieved significant growth in a short space of time, a remarkable achievement considering they were only formed two years ago,” Ms Alderson said.
Fierce Earth, organisers of the Fierce! Festival, took home the outstanding market development award
The judging panel pointed to the company’s in-depth research, development of new marketing strategies and the new routes it had found into the performing sector.
Ms Alderson said: “Fierce Earth represents Birmingham’s creative industries internationally as they are held in high regards across Europe as digital media pioneers.
“They continue to use innovative marketing tactics that will, no doubt, mean many other awards will be coming their way in the future.”
Because this was such a closely-fought category the judging panel felt it was unfair not to recognise the achievements of the runner up in this category and presented a Special Achievement Award to the runner-up D A Recordings.
Ms Alderson said: “They do such good work in the highly competitive online music industry, it was impossible to over look them.”
IE, an interactive, brand and design firm based in the Jewellery Quarter, scooped the title Best Brand Award and received recognition from the judges for its strong core brand values.
“IE is unique in as much as the bulk of their clients have been with them for as long as a decade,” said Ms Alderson.
“They can also boast that no member staff has ever left the company to join another design agency. The time and effort they put into staff morale is wonderful example to all companies big or small.”