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The Stephen Sondheim Society Student
Performer of the Year competition (SSSSPOTY)

This year, on SUNDAY 9th JUNE, we'll be celebrating the 16th anniversary of our annual student performer competition.


Tickets now on sale: click here to book!

The idea for a prize to help support a performing arts student starting out in the world of professional musical theatre formed in 2007, at which point Stephen Sondheim asked us if the event could also be used to showcase the work of new composers and lyricists. "New writers", he said, "don’t tend to get so many chances to show off their work."

In that year, we presented the first Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year award (affectionately known as SSSSPOTY). The format was simple: sing - or more accurately, perform! - a song by Mr Sondheim. From the second year of the competition, in the light of Sondheim’s wishes, as well as singing a song by Sondheim, the students who make it through to the SSSSPOTY finals each sing a new piece of writing for the stage. This year, we will once again be partnering with the New UK Musicals organisation to source some new writing for the stage.

In 2022 - after a COVID-enforced hiatus - we were thrilled to host the competition in the theatre that now bears Sondheim's name, thanks to a kind donation from Cameron Mackintosh. It was particularly poignant given the recent passing of Mr Sondheim that the competition should be held in this gloriously renovated theatre. We're once again honoured to be back in the Sondheim this year, so a big thank you Cameron for his continued generosity.

The SSSSPOTY first prize (a silver salver and a cheque for £1,000) is awarded to the student who, in the opinion of the judges, gives the best performance of their two songs. In recent years, it has been customary to have a runner up and this has now been formalised by the award of a prize to the student in second place. 


...was founded by Darren Clark, a multi-award-winning UK musical theatre writer. Through many conversations with colleagues, including members of MMD, BML and Alumni of BEAM and Adam Lenson's Signal, he realised that there was a missing piece in the infrastructure of new musical theatre in the UK. While there was plenty of excellent new work being created, access to those songs was limited as there was no central hub at which the sheet music could be found.

And so NEW UK MUSICALS was born.


"Because it is run by writers," says Darren, "we have the best interests of both writers and performers at heart. We want new musical theatre in the UK to grow and thrive. We want songs from new musicals to be sung at cabarets, auditions and in showers throughout the country."


If you or your school is interested in entering the 2024 SSSSPOTY competition, please send an email to


The SSSSPOTY 2024 competition will be held on the afternoon of Sunday 9th June at the Sondheim Theatre in London's West End and hosted by Old Friends star Bonnie Langford.

To honour Sondheim's wishes of having a new song performed for each of his own compositions, the Society is pleased to be working with New UK Musicals to showcase some new songwriting for the stage.

2024 •  2023202220192018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015201420132012 • 20112010200920082007

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