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Juliet Stevenson: 'I want great parts for women, not women playing great parts for men'

The actress was talking at last night's WhatsOnStage Awards

Accepting her WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Juliet Stevenson spoke out about the lack of great roles for women.

As she collected her award for her performance as Gertrude in the Almeida's Hamlet, Stevenson told the audience at the Prince of Wales Theatre that the character is 'talked to, she's talked at, she's talked about, she's talked over, but she doesn't talk much herself,' adding that she wanted to 'work out why she doesn't talk.'

Speaking with WhatsOnStage backstage she said: "The thing that made me want to be an actor was King Lear. They came into my school hall and five actors in jeans did King Lear, and it wasn't Cordelia I wanted to play, it was King Lear.

"I have mixed feelings about it now. I love the gender-bending, I'm all for it, I'm all for gender exploration, gender fluidity, I think it's fascinating and timely, and I really embrace it.

"But what I want is great parts for women, not women playing great parts for men. Although it's fun to play [what is] traditionally a man's role those plays are written about men and by a man – and that's fantastic, they're brilliant, genius plays – but what we need is more plays about the female experience."

Check out our gallery of stars arriving on the red carpet and catch up with our Facebook Live stream here.

Read all our WhatsOnStage Awards news, interviews, videos and more.