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> > > News: Artists take centre stage for diversity at the AMIs 2011

21 November 2011

Creative excellence amongst disabled artists was honoured at the Ability Media International (AMI) awards on Sunday 20 November, as stars of screen, stage, broadcast and new media joined to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the media and arts

photo of actress Dame Maggie Smith presenting Ryan Kelly with an AMI Award

Dame Maggie Smith presents Ryan Kelly, star of BBC Radio 4's 'The Archers', with an AMI Award

The glittering Ability Media International (AMI) awards saw 20 winners honoured for their outstanding creativity and contribution to building a more inclusive arts and media industry for disabled people.

The evening saw Dame Maggie Smith present blind actor Ryan Kelly, star of BBC Radio 4 drama The Archers, with the prestigious Tyzack Award for his ‘groundbreaking’ portrayal of the sighted character Jazzer. Coronation Street actress Cherylee Houston, who uses a wheelchair, won the Drama Award for her portrayal of Lizzie. Dancer Wayne Sleep OBE presented David Toole, who was born without legs, with the Dance Award. Graeae Theatre Company founder and disability rights campaigner, Nabil Shaban, won the Fellowship Award.

The Guardian, National Theatre and English National Opera all won awards for their outstanding contributions to diversity in the creative and media industries.

The packed ceremony was attended by some of the UK arts industry’s most influential and well respected players – including Downton Abbey actor Dame Maggie Smith, children's TV pioneer Anna Home, and filmmaker Mike Leigh. The ceremony was hosted by presenter and diversity champion Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE.

Full list of award winners:

The Tyzack Award – Ryan Kelly (Jazzer in BBC Radio 4's The Archers)
The Television Award – Cherylee Houston & Coronation Street
Features Award – Katie – My Beautiful Friends (Katie Piper & Mentorn TV)
Literature Award – Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People by Katharine Quarmby
The Visual Arts Award – Re-framing Disability: Portraits from the Royal College of Physicians (Royal College of Physicians and Shape)
The Dance Award – David Toole
The Theatre Award – The National Theatre
The Music Award – Two Boys (English National Opera)
The Film Award – Bro' by Chris Dundon
The Future Focus Award – William Mager
The New Talent Award – Ability Media Production Team (Our Rights to Relationships)
The Children’s Award - Oily Cart
The Champion Award – Lizzie Emeh
The Fellowship Award – Nabil Shaban
The People’s Choice Award – The Guardian
Live Events Award – Picture this… Film Festival
The Interactive Media Award - USCREEN (Screen South)
Film & Video Award – BP Olympic Ambassadors
The Radio Award – Caring Too Much (Julie Fernandez & BBC Radio 4)
Documentary Award – Born to Be Different (Ricochet Films)

The AMIs support the Ability Media Centre in Southwark, South East London. Set up by Leonard Cheshire Disability, the centre gives disabled and disadvantaged young people the training and skills they need to meet the demands of the media industries.

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