Mary Stuart scooped the Theatre prize in the tenth anniversary South Bank Show Awards, which celebrates the UK’s creative talent across a wide range of the arts (See News, 5 Dec 2005).

At a star-studded event held today at London’s Savoy Hotel, Ewan McGregor (fresh from his West End turn in Guys and Dolls, directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage) presented the Theatre award to director Phyllida Lloyd and the cast of Mary Stuart.

The Donmar Warehouse revival of Schiller’s play about two warring queens - which transferred to the West End’s Apollo Theatre last autumn, starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter (See News, 24 Aug 2005) - has also been nominated for a plethora of awards at the Oliviers and our own Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Walter also won the Evening Standard Best Actress Award for her turn as Queen Elizabeth I.

The Arts Council England Decibel Award was scooped by Asian playwright and director Madani Younis, whose plays include Silent Cry and Freeworld.

Ben Silverstone was nominated for the Breakthrough Awardwhich recognises rising British talent, for his performance opposite David Suchet in the West End revival of Terence Rattigan’s Man and Boy, but he was pipped to the post by Billie Piper from TV’s Doctor Who.

Elsewhere, Ian McKellen presented the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts to actor and director Richard Attenborough, and Kathleen Turner - who opens next week in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (See News 25 Nov 2005) - presented the Best TV Drama award to the cast of Elizabeth I, which starred Helen Mirren, who in turn presented the Cinema Award to Nick Park and Steve Box for their feature film Wallace and Gromit.

Amongst the other celebrities who attended the event were Tracey Emin, PD James, Rob Brydon, Darcey Bussell, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Will Young. The ceremony will be aired, as part of the ITV1 arts programme, this Sunday, 29 January 2006.

- by Caroline Ansdell