Othello, which starred Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, was nominated alongside fellow Donmar production The Chalk Garden and the Royal Court's Now Or Later. Director Michael Grandage was on hand to collect the accolade in what is bound to be a busy awards season for the Donmar artistic director - the Donmar is nominated in over ten categories in this year's Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards (See News, 5 Dec 2008) and is likely to feature strongly when the Olivier nominations are announced later this month.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh was presented with an Outstanding Achievement award by Trevor Nunn, who paid tribute to his “great passion, judgment and belief”. Mackintosh has produced some of the biggest theatrical successes of recent times, including Cats, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. His revival of Oliver!, starring Rowan Atkinson, recently became the fastest-selling show in West End history.
Elsewhere, dancer Aaron Sillis, who starred in Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray, beat director Rupert Goold and actress Andrea Riseborough to The Times Breakthrough award, while English National Opera's co-productions of Punch and Judy and Lost Highway took the opera award.
The South Bank Show Awards will be broadcast on ITV1 on 28 January.
- by Theo Bosanquet