Samuel Barnett, who earlier this month won two Awards, took a break between yesterday’s performances of The History Boys at the National to collect his trophies for Best Supporting Actor and Ms London Newcomer of the Year. The Alan Bennett play also scooped this year’s Award for Best New Comedy.

On receiving news of his double win, Barnett commented: "Thank you so much! I am so thrilled to receive these awards. I was really pleased just to be nominated, but to win both awards is beyond anything I imagined. It feels great to have my work recognised and appreciated by the people who love and support theatre. And, of course, these awards are testament to the cast and stage technicians who work on The History Boys, because I can only ever be as good as the people I am working with. Thank you again."

Commenting on the Best New Comedy win, Alan Bennett remarked: “I’m not sure that it is a comedy, but it’s certainly true that the audiences enjoy it hugely. It is also, slightly to my surprise, a show for all the family. So thank you very much.”

The three wins add to the production’s substantial awards haul to date, which also includes Best Play and Best Actor (Richard Griffiths) at both the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards as well as the South Bank Show award for Theatre. The History Boys has also been nominated for four of this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards (See News, 20 Jan 2005), including Best New Play, Best Actor (Griffiths) and Best Director (Nicholas Hytner).

The fourth Olivier nomination is for Barnett himself, who competes with fellow Award winner Dame Judi Dench as well as nominees Amanda Harris and Eddie Redmayne (winner of the Standard and Critics’ Circle Newcomer awards) for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. At the Olivier ceremony, held this Sunday 20 February 2005 at the London Hilton, Barnett will also provide some of the evening’s entertainment, singing “Under My Skin”.

- by Terri Paddock

To view the full list of 2005 Theatregoers’ Choice Award winners & nominees as well as further acceptance remarks & voting percentages, click here.