Grayson Perry was the big winner at the The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021.

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

The 61-year-old artist, writer, and broadcaster was awarded the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award at the annual awards ceremony, which took place in person on Monday (19.07.21) at The Savoy in London for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

Speaking after his win, Grayson said: "I've grown up with The South Bank Show, Melvyn and Sky Arts. It feels more than any other ceremony, it's collegiate, it's our ceremony. The Arts, as a family. I think coming out of Covid it feels especially touching, I think that's what's made it so moving for me really, and I feel very proud. I also feel too young!"

Elsewhere, Dua Lipa scooped up the Pop prize for her ‘Future Nostalgia’ album, while ‘I May Destroy You’ took home the TV Drama award, and playwright Samuel Bailey was named the recipient of the Breakthrough gong.

The ceremony was presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg, and saw The South Bank Sky Arts Awards continue its legacy as the only awards ceremony in the world to celebrate the complete range of the Arts, with categories for TV Drama, Classical Music, Theatre, Comedy, Dance, Film, Visual Art, Pop, Literature and Opera.

Maggie O’Farrell won the Literature prize for her novel, ‘Hamnet’, which is a fictional account of the family life of William Shakespeare, while ‘Ghosts’ took home the award for Comedy and The Royal Ballet secured the Dance trophy for ‘Scherzo’.

This year there were also two additional awards titled The Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During The Pandemic, which were awarded to one individual and one institution.

Director Sam Mendes bagged the individual gong for his Theatre Artists Fund, while Wigmore Hall took home the institution version for leading the way in transmission of live performances throughout the global health crisis.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards will air on Thursday (22.07.21) at 9pm on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, and Now TV.

The full list of winners at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards are as follows:

Visual Art

Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin - Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol




‘Uncle Vanya’




‘Scherzo’ – The Royal Ballet

Classical Music

‘Petrenko's Mahler I & II’ - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


‘Hamnet’ – Maggie O'Farrell


‘L'enfant et les sortilèges’ – VOPERA


‘Future Nostalgia’ – Dua Lipa

TV Drama

‘I May Destroy You’

Breakthrough Award

Samuel Bailey

Outstanding Achievement Award

Grayson Perry

Innovation in the Arts during the Pandemic: An Individual

Sam Mendes

Innovation in the Arts during the Pandemic: An Institution

Wigmore Hall

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