Dame Judi’s record Olivier win

Judi Dench won a record eighth Olivier Award tonight as best supporting actress for her portrayal of Paulina in the Kenneth Branagh production of The Winter’s Tale, more than any other performer.


Best actor was Kenneth Cranham, beating Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Adrian Lester, for his performance in the Theatre Royal Bath’s West End transfer of Florian Zeller’s play The Father. Best director was Robert Icke for Oresteia at the Almeida.

Another transfer, Chichester Festival Theatre’s Gypsy, triumphed scooping best actress in a musical for Imelda Staunton, best musical revival, best lighting design and best musical supporting role for Lara Pulver, the most for a single production.

The National Theatre was also a big winner in the event for West End theatre, organised by the Society of London Theatre and held at the Royal Opera House, with four awards. Denis Gough was best actress for her performance in People, Places and Things; Mark Gatiss was best supporting actor for Three Days in the Country; the best revival was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; and Tom Gibbons won the best sound design award.

The musical Kinky Boots took away three prizes with best new musical, best musical actor for Matt Henry, best costume design for Gregg Barnes. Best musical supporting role was David Bedella’s  in The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre

The Royal Court’s Hangmen was best new play, also winning best set design for Anna Fleischle. Best new comedy was Nell Gwynn at the Apollo.

The troubled English National Opera, which only just avoided  strike action by its chorus last week, had the outstanding achievement in opera for it is chorus and orchestra in The Force of Destiny, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Queen of Spades. But the best new opera production was the Royal Opera House’s Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci


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