Winners for this year\'s 33rd annual Laurence Olivier Awards, London\'s equivalent of the Tonys and the UK\'s most prestigious stage awards, were announced tonight (Sunday 8 March 2008) at a star-studded ceremony held at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane. Some gossipy titbits overheard on the night – from the press room - follow. See our other stories for the full list of winners and nominees, analysis, speech highlights, photos, video interviews and other coverage…

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LAURENCE OLIVIERS’ PAGE – CLICK HERE NOW!

  • Fresh from presenting the first award of the evening, for lighting design, Jodie Prenger was asked whether she was nervous speaking in front of so many famous faces. “Well, I haven\'t got my proper lenses in so I couldn\'t see most of them, which helped!” she cheerfully replied.

  • Gareth Gates, who presented the award for Best Set Design, was fairly sanguine about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat posting closing notices last week. In any case, it’s not putting him off treading the boards. “My pop career\'s on hold for the time being,” he said, “and for the next couple of years I\'m going to focus on my musical theatre career.”

  • “Being on stage every night in front of a live audience alongside Sir Ian, Ronald Pickup and Simon Callow makes me as happy as I can be,” said Patrick Stewart, who won Best Performance in a Supporting Role for the RSC’s Hamlet, on his new role in Waiting for Godot. He went on admit that working on X-men alongside Halle Berry and Anna Paquin was “rather lovely” as well.

  • Kenneth Branagh was controversially left off the shortlist for Best Actor in this year’s Oliviers, and the man who went on to win the prize – a fellow Donmar star – raised his own concerns about the judges’ decision-making in the category. “It was a surprise, because Malvolio is really a supporting character, so I thought if I was going to be nominated it would be in that category,” said Derek Jacobi, who won for Twelfth Night. Still, he wasn’t compelled to look a gift horse in the mouth. “This is a huge honour, and it\'ll certainly take pride of place in my home.”

  • Dominic Cooper, who presented Best Actress in a Musical, revealed that he “can\'t wait” to start rehearsals for his forthcoming role in Phedre at the National opposite Helen Mirren. But don’t expect him to start breaking into song any time soon. On being asked whether he planned any more film musical roles after the success of Mamma Mia!, he replied it was “doubtful, but I\'d never say never”.

  • A sombre Douglas Hodge - who won Best Actor in a Musical for La Cage aux Folles after earlier performing “I Am What I Am” from the show, out of drag for a change - revealed that he nearly didn\'t attend the awards due to the death of his father on Thursday. “My mum told me I should come. And I know he would have been extremely proud,” he said.

  • Jason Donovan, presenter of the Best Musical Revival award, waxed lyrical about Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, which starts previews on Tuesday at the Palace Theatre. He described it as “a great Australian story that\'s come to the West End at just the right time”. Unlike Gates, he’s determined not to let his musical commitments deter his pop plans. Speaking about “reviving” his music career, Donovan said, “It\'s never really gone away and this year could see another stage in it – we\'ll see”.

    ALL AWARDS COVERAGE IS AVAILABLE VIA OUR NEW, DEDICATED
    LAURENCE OLIVIERS’ PAGE – CLICK HERE NOW!