The Stage has announced Dave Fargnoli from Brighton as the winner of The Stage Critic Search 2015 - the competition to find the UK’s best undiscovered theatre critics.
The 31-year-old Scottish playwright, illustrator and theatre critic was the regional finalist for the south-east, and was mentored by Variety critic Matt Trueman, who also writes for Whatsonstage and The Stage.
Fargnoli will receive £1,000 prize money as well as the opportunity to review regularly for The Stage.
The Stage editor Alistair Smith, who chaired the judging panel, said: "We had several hundred people from across the UK enter The Stage Critic Search, and Dave Fargnoli stood out from the first round.
"His three reviews – of The Vote, Constellationsand The Red Lion – impressed all the judges with the clarity and concision of his writing, as well as his ability to turn a lively phrase and engage the reader."
"He is an incisive critic and a very worthy winner, and I look forward to reading more of his reviews in The Stage – hopefully for many years to come."
Fargnoli was chosen over fellow grand finalists Jafar Iqbal, from Cardiff, and Lee Anderson, from Waltham Cross, who each had to write a 450-word review of The Red Lion at the National Theatre. As well as extending commiserations to Iqbal and Anderson, Smith added that the pair would also be offered some reviewing work.
He explained: “I am glad to say that we were so impressed by the overall standard of reviews in the grand final that The Stage has decided to extend the opportunity to review for us to both of our runners-up.”
Congratulations to The Stage who publish their 7,000th issue today!