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Donmar scoops four Evening Standard Awards

Published 24 November 2008

The Donmar Warehouse has scooped four awards out of six nominations in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, announced today at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played Othello in the Donmar production at the end of last year, won the Best Actor award over David Calder for King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe and Kenneth Branagh for Ivanov in the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s.

In the Best Actress category, judges were unable to decide between Margaret Tyzack and Penelope Wilton, both nominated for their performances in Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden at the Donmar, so the pair won the award jointly.

Michael Grandage, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse and the director of Othello, The Chalk Garden and Ivanov, beat Michael Boyd and John Tiffany to win the Best Director award for the third time in his career.

The last of the Donmar nominees, Felicity Jones, who starred with Tyzack and Wilton in The Chalk Garden, was beaten to the Outstanding Newcomer award by Ella Smith for Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig at Trafalgar Studio 1.

Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters, which played at the National Theatre, scooped the Best Play award, while American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney picked up the £10,000 prize for Most Promising Playwright for The Brothers Size and In The Red And Brown Water at the Young Vic.

The Young Vic also won the Best Musical award for Street Scene, which fought off competition from higher-profile shows La Cage Aux Folles and Marguerite.

This year’s ceremony included two additional awards. Kevin Spacey was given a Special Award for bringing new life to the Old Vic, where he is Artistic Director; and Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley bestowed an Editor’s Award on the Royal Shakespeare Company for its epic Histories cycle at the Roundhouse earlier this year.
Neil Murray won Best Design for his transformation of the Cinema Haymarket into the setting for Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter.

The winners in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards are decided by a panel of theatre critics from the Evening Standard, Mail On Sunday, Observer, Times and Daily Telegraph.

The Evening Standard Theatre Awards are the first awards in the season and are followed by the Critics Circle Awards, the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and, to finish the season with a flourish, the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards in March.


The winners (in bold) and nominees

Best Play
Black Watch by Gregory Burke (National Theatre of Scotland at the Barbican Theatre)
Now Or Later by Christopher Shinn (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs)
The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall (Live Theatre and National Theatre co-production)

Best Actor
Kenneth Branagh (Ivanov – Donmar West End at the Wyndham’s Theatre)
David Calder (King Lear – Shakespeare’s Globe)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Othello – Donmar Warehouse)

Best Actress
Lesley Sharp (Harper Regan – National Theatre Cottesloe)
Margaret Tyzack (The Chalk Garden – Donmar Warehouse)
Penelope Wilton (The Chalk Garden – Donmar Warehouse)

The Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical

La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory and Playhouse Theatre)
Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Street Scene (The Opera Group, Young Vic and Watford Palace Theatre co-production)

The Sydney Edwards Award for Best Director
Michael Boyd (The History Cycle – Royal Shakespeare Company at the Roundhouse)
Michael Grandage (Othello – Donmar Warehouse/The Chalk Garden – Donmar Warehouse/Ivanov – Donmar West End at Wyndham’s)
John Tiffany (Black Watch – National Theatre of Scotland at Barbican)

Best Design
Miriam Buether (In The Red And Brown Water – Young Vic)
Rob Howell (The Norman Conquests – Old Vic)
Neil Murray (Brief Encounter – Kneehigh at Cinema Haymarket)

The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer

Felicity Jones (The Chalk Garden – Donmar Warehouse)
Lex Shrapnel (Henry IV Part I – Royal Shakespeare Company at the Roundhouse)
Ella Smith (Fat Pig – Trafalgar Studio 1 and the Comedy Theatre)

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright
Bola Agbaje (Gone Too Far! – Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs)
Anupama Chandrasekhar (Free Outgoing – Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs)
Tarell Alvin McCraney (In The Red And Brown Water/The Brothers Size – Young Vic)

Special Award
Kevin Spacey

Editor’s Award
The Royal Shakespeare Company for the Histories cycle at the Roundhouse


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