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Subsidised Sector Sweeps Evening Standard Awards

By • West End
You could be forgiven for thinking the commercial West End didn't exist. Once again, subsidised theatres and companies have resoundingly triumphed in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards, the winners (listed below in bold) of which were announced in a lunchtime ceremony, hosted by comedian Rory Bremner today at London's Savoy Hotel and to be broadcast on Carlton Television Wednesday night.

Of the eight pre-announced categories, every single one went to productions mounted, at least initially, in the subsidised sector. The Donmar Warehouse scooped two awards for Best Actor (Michael Sheen) and Best Designer (Christopher Oram), both for artistic director Michael Grandage's revival of Caligula.

The Royal Court also nabbed a pair of prizes, for Best Actress (Sandy McDade for Iron) and Outstanding Newcomer (for Blood's Tom Hardy, who was jointly recognised for In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings at the subsidised Hampstead Theatre).

At the top of the pile, the National Theatre took home three awards in total. In addition to Best Musical for Jerry Springer (See Today's Other News), the National's production of Michael Frayn's Democracy won Best New Play (and, in an ironic twist, was presented by former MP Peter Mandelson) while Kwame Kwei-Armah, whose Elmina's Kitchen premiered earlier this year in the NT Cottesloe, was named the Charles Wintour Most Promising Playwright. Kwei-Armah received a cheque for £30,000.

Best Director went to leading touring company Shared Experience's Polly Teale, who also wrote After Mrs Rochester, the play about novelist Jean Rhys which transferred to the West End after an extensive tour and a run at west London's Lyric Hammersmith.

A ninth, Special Award was presented to Max Stafford-Clark, former artistic director of the Royal Court and founder of touring company Out of Joint.


The full list of Evening Standard nominations - with winners in bold - is as follows:

BEST ACTOR - Kenneth Branagh for Edmond at the NT Olivier, Warren Mitchell for The Price at the Tricycle and Apollo, Michael Sheen for Caligula at the Donmar Warehouse.

BEST ACTRESS - Eileen Atkins for Honour at the NT Cottesloe, Sandy McDade for Iron at the Royal Court, Ann Mitchell for Through the Leaves at Southwark Playhouse and the Duchess.

BEST DIRECTOR - Michael Blakemore for Democracy at the NT Cottesloe, Simon McBurney for The Elephant Vanishes at the Barbican Theatre, Polly Teale for After Mrs Rochester at the Lyric Hammersmith and Duke of York's.

BEST STAGE DESIGNER - John Gunter for Love's Labour's Lost at the NT Olivier, Christopher Oram for Caligula at Donmar Warehouse, Ultz for Fallout at the Royal Court and Hobson's Choice at the Young Vic.

BEST PLAY - After Mrs Rochester by Polly Teale, Democracy by Michael Frayn, Fallout by Roy Williams.

BEST MUSICAL - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Jerry Springer - The Opera at NT Lyttelton and Cambridge Theatre, Simply Heavenly at the Young Vic.

MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT - Kwame Kwei-Armah for Elmina's Kitchen at the NT Cottesloe, Owen McCafferty for Scenes from the Big Picture at the NT Cottesloe, Lucy Prebble for The Sugar Syndrome at the Royal Court Upstairs.

OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER - Lisa Dillon for The Master Builder at the Albery Theatre, Amanda Drew for Eastward Ho!, RSC at the Gielgud Theatre, Tom Hardy for Blood at the Royal Court Downstairs and In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings at the Hampstead Theatre.

SPECIAL AWARD - for his lifetime contribution to theatre and his dedication to new writing - Out of Joint artistic director Max Stafford-Clark.


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