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James McAvoy and Nicole Kidman among Evening Standard Awards nominees

The shortlist has been announced for this year's theatre awards with the winners to be revealed later this month

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James McAvoy and Nicole Kidman
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The shortlist has been announced for this year's Evening Standard Awards with James McAvoy and Nicole Kidman among the nominees in the acting categories.

The awards, which take place at the Old Vic on Sunday 22 November, will be presented by Rob Brydon and co-hosted by Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen.

Founded in 1955, previous award recipients include Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and Tom Hiddleston who won Best Actor last year for his performance in Coriolanus.

The National Theatre have seven shortlisted candidates across six categories for productions including The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Man and Superman, People, Places and Things, Pomona, The Red Lion and Treasure Island. The National is closely followed by the Royal Court and Donmar Warehouse with five and four shortlisted respectively.

The Best Actor category is made up of Simon Russell Beale (Temple), Kenneth Cranham (The Father), Ralph Fiennes (Man and Superman) and James McAvoy (The Ruling Class).

Nominees for the Best Actress category are Nicole Kidman (Photograph 51), Denise Gough (People, Places and Things), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Nell Gywnn) and Lia Williams (Oresteia).

For the first time, this year's categories include three for musical theatre. In the new Best Musical Performance category, Imelda Staunton (Gypsy) is joined by Katie Brayben (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Rosalie Craig (City of Angels) and Killian Donnelly (Kinky Boots).

Then Gemma Arterton (Made in Dagenham), Ellie Bamber (High Society) and Natalie Dew (Bend It Like Beckham) compete for inaugural Newcomer in a Musical Award and the shortlist for this year's Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical, which is voted for by the Radio 2 listeners, has already been announced.

Owner of the London Evening Standard Evgeny Lebedev said today, "This fantastic shortlist bears witness to the fact that Londoners are living through a theatrical golden age. With ground-breaking director-led seasons, visionary new writing dominating the West End and the world's finest thespian talent queuing up to perform here, London's theatre scene is the envy of the world."

The full shortlist is as follows:

Best Actor:

Simon Russell Beale, Temple, Donmar Warehouse
Kenneth Cranham, The Father, Ustinov Bath, Tricycle & Wyndham's Theatre
Ralph Fiennes, Man and Superman, National Theatre's Lyttelton
James McAvoy, The Ruling Class, Trafalgar Studios

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress:

Denise Gough, People, Places and Things, National Theatre's Dorfman
Nicole Kidman, Photograph 51, Noel Coward Theatre
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nell Gwynn, Shakespeare's Globe
Lia Williams, Oresteia, Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Studios

Best Play:

The Motherf**ker with the Hat (Stephen Adly Guirgis), National Theatre's Lyttelton
Hangmen (Martin McDonagh) Royal Court
The Father (Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton) Ustinov Bath, Tricycle & Wyndham's Theatre

Milton Shulman Award for Best Director:

Robert Icke, Oresteia, Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Studios
Jamie Lloyd, Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory
Indhu Rubasingham, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, National Theatre's Lyttelton

Best Design:

Anna Fleischle, Hangmen, Royal Court
Tim Hatley, Temple, Donmar Warehouse
Robert Jones, City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright:

Molly Davies, God Bless the Child, Royal Court Upstairs
Alistair McDowall, Pomona, Orange Tree Theatre & National Theatre's Temporary Space
Diana Nneka Atuona, Liberian Girl, Royal Court Upstairs (Peckham & Tottenham pop up venues)

Emerging Talent Award in Partnership with Burberry:

Calvin Demba, The Red Lion, National Theatre's Dorfman
Patsy Ferran, Treasure Island, National Theatre's Olivier
David Moorst, Violence and Son, Royal Court Upstairs

Best Musical Performance:

Katie Brayben, Beautiful, Aldwych Theatre
Rosalie Craig, City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse
Killian Donnelly, Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre
Imelda Staunton, Gypsy, Savoy Theatre

Newcomer in a Musical:

Gemma Arterton, Made in Dagenham, Adelphi Theatre
Ellie Bamber, High Society, Old Vic
Natalie Dew, Bend It Like Beckham, Phoenix Theatre

Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical (voted for by the public):

Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre
Bend It Like Beckham, Phoenix Theatre
Gypsy, Savoy Theatre
Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

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