Article Nov 21, 2016

You are no longer passing

Ralph Fiennes leads winners at star-studded theatre awards

Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Close and Billie Piper were among the winners at the 2016 Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday night (13Nov16).

Countless famous faces attended the prize giving, recognizing the best performances and plays in U.K. theatres over the past year, at London's Old Vic Theatre.

Theatre veteran Ralph was honored for his performances in The Master Builder and Richard III, beating Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Kenneth Branagh, James McArdle and O-T Fagbenle to take home the Best Actor gong.

Billie, who has been enjoying success on the stage after a career in music and television, received the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress for her performance in Yerma, and thanked the production's director Simon Stone for "scaring" her with the role of a woman desperate to have a baby. Billie beat Harry Potter and the Cursed Child star Noma Dumezweni, Helen McCrory and Sophie Melville to take home the prestigious award.

Following on from the critical acclaim she received through her portrayal of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, Glenn accepted the prize for Best Musical Performance from Elton John, and told the audience the chance to reprise the role she made famous 22 years ago was a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."

John Malkovich was presented with the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director after helming play Good Canary - his directing debut - beating John Tiffany for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dominic Cooke for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

But Harry Potter did enjoy some success at the ceremony, taking home the esteemed Best Play gong.

Director Tiffany took to the stage to pick up the prize from Dame Maggie Smith, and told the guests at the awards: "It's a show about the peril of isolation, about unity, about family and about love."

Dumezweni, who plays the adult Hermione in the follow-up tale of former boy wizard Harry, read out a message from author J.K. Rowling, who praised Tiffany and co-writer Jack Thorne for "crafting the bare bones of a story into something very special".

Other celebrities at the awards included Tom Hiddleston, Orlando Bloom, Joan Collins, James McAvoy, Mark Rylance, Sheridan Smith, Ruth Wilson and Tom Hollander.

The full list of winners at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016 is as follows:

Best Actor? - Ralph Fiennes, The Master Builder & Richard III

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress - ?Billie Piper, Yerma

Best Play with Hiscox, Official Arts Partner? - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, co-written by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling & John Tiffany

Best Musical Performance? - Glenn Close, Sunset Boulevard

Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical? - Jesus Christ Superstar

Milton Shulman Award for Best Director? - John Malkovich, Good Canary

Best Revival? - No Man's Land, Wyndham’s

Best Design? - Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin, The Encounter

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright? - Charlene James, Cuttin’ It

Emerging Talent Award in Partnership with Burberry - ?Tyrone Huntley, Jesus Christ Superstar

Beyond Theatre Award? - Sir David Attenborough for his contribution to broadcasting

Editor's Award? - Good Chance Theatre

Lebedev Award? - Sir Kenneth Branagh for his Plays at the Garrick