The winners of the 18th annual Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, decided by members of the professional association for those who make a living out of criticism, were announced today at a ceremony held at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre, ahead of our own Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, which are announced on 9 February 2007.

While no nominations are released, categories covered by the critics’ awards are Best New Play, Best Musical, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Shakespearean Performance, Best Director, Best Designer, Most Promising Playwright and Most Promising Newcomer.

Tom Stoppard’s Rock 'n' Roll followed up its double win in the Evening Standard Awards with another twin win, in the Best New Play and Best Actor (for Rufus Sewell) categories (See News, 27 Nov 2006). Meanwhile, Best Newcomer nominee Connie Fisher was given the same accolade by the critics for her performance in The Sound of Music, jointly awarded to Fisher and fellow Award nominee Andrew Garfield for Beautiful Thing, Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship and The Overwhelming. The South Bank Theatre Award-winning National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch was noted in the Best Director category, for John Tiffany (See News, 23 Jan 2007).

This year, for only the third time in the history of the ceremony, an award was re-named in honour of a critic. The late Peter Hepple, editor for 20 years of the industry newspaper The Stage, was famed for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the live performing arts and was one of the most respected journalists in his field. The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical was awarded to another Award nominee, Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner.

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2007 were hosted by its chairman Charles Spencer, theatre critic of the Daily Telegraph. Comedian, broadcaster and award-winning playwright Arthur Smith was the guest speaker. This coverage will be followed later today by a separate story featuring winners’ photos and acceptance speech highlights from the Critics’ Circle Awards.

- by Caroline Ansdell

The full list of Critics’ Circle winners is as follows:

BEST NEW PLAY - Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard.

The Peter Hepple Award for BEST MUSICAL - Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner.

BEST ACTOR - Rufus Sewell for Rock ‘n’ Roll.

BEST ACTRESS - Kathleen Turner for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for BEST SHAKESPEAREAN PERFORMANCE - Tamsin Greig for Much Ado About Nothing.

BEST DIRECTOR - John Tiffany for Black Watch.

BEST DESIGNER - The Punchdrunk Faust Company.


The Jack Tinker Award for MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER - Connie Fisher for The Sound of Music and Andrew Garfield for Beautiful Thing, Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship and The Overwhelming.