Subsidised theatres reigned supreme in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards, the winners (listed below in bold) of which were announced in a lunchtime ceremony, held today in London and to be broadcast on Carlton Television Thursday night.

The Royal Court led with three awards, followed by the Donmar Warehouse with two. The National scooped one award, while Shakespeare's Globe artistic director Mark Rylance received a special award for outstanding contribution to theatre, the first time the Standard has bestowed such an honour in four years.

Only two awards out of the nine, Best Musical and Outstanding Newcomer, were doled out to commercial productions: for, respectively, The Full Monty, which closed this weekend, and Hollywood young gun Jake Gyllenhaal for his performance in This Is Our Youth.

The Royal Court's premiere of Plasticine won Vassily Sigarev the award for Most Promising Playwright (which also comes with a cheque for £30,000), while Ian MacNeil's set for the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs production as well as the Theatre Downstairs production of Caryl Churchill's A Number (pictured) won him the honour for Best Stage Designer. Churchill's drama also won for Best New Play.

The Donmar scored big with Sam Mendes' farewell double bill of Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, which won him the award for Best Director and nabbed star Simon Russell Beale the prize for Best Actor.

Beale's co-star Helen McCrory and fellow Donmar nominee Gwyneth Paltrow were beaten in the race for Best Actress by Clare Higgins in the National Theatre's production of Vincent in Brixton, which transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre.

In addition to various winners and nominees, the celebrities who turned out for the Standard's presentation today included Gillian Anderson, Juliet Stevenson, Tom Stoppard, John Hurt, Richard O'Brien and Richard Eyre, who were on hand to present awards.

- by Terri Paddock


The full list of Evening Standard nominations is as follows:

BEST ACTOR - Daniel Craig for A Number at the Royal Court, Simon Russell Beale for Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night; Tom Georgeson for Frozen.

BEST ACTRESS - Gwyneth Paltrow for Proof, Helen McCrory for Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, Clare Higgins for Vincent in Brixton at the NT Cottesloe and Wyndham's Theatre.

BEST DIRECTOR - Sam Mendes for Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night; Tim Carroll for Twelfth Night at Shakespeare's Globe; Dominic Cooke for Plasticine at the Royal Court Upstairs.

BEST STAGE DESIGNER - Stephen Brimson Lewis for Much Ado About Nothing, RSC at the Theatre Royal Haymarket; William Dudley for The Coast of Utopia at the NT Olivier; Ian MacNeil for Plasticine and A Number at the Royal Court.

BEST MUSICAL - Bombay Dreams at the Apollo Victoria; The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales; My One and Only at the Piccadilly.

MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT - Anthony Neilson for Stitching at the Bush; Charlotte Eilenberg for The Lucky Ones at Hampstead Theatre; Vassily Sigarev for Plasticine.

OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER - Jochum Ten Haaf for Vincent in Brixton, Alison Pargeter for Damsels in Distress at the Duchess Theatre; Jake Gyllenhaal for This Is Our Youth at the Garrick Theatre.


Do you agree with the choices of the Standard judges? There's still time to nominate in 20 different categories for our 2003 Theatregoers' Choice Awards. CLICK HERE to nominate now!