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Donmar tops Evening Standard shortlist

Published 7 November 2008

The Donmar Warehouse leads the shortlisted nominations in the 2008 Evening Standard Theatre Awards with a total of six nominations for three of its shows.

Today’s announcement whittles down the longlist, announced earlier this week, to three nominees per category. Donmar Artistic Director Michael Grandage leads the way by being nominated for Best Director for three productions – Othello and The Chalk Garden, which both played at the Covent Garden venue in the last year, and Ivanov, which opened the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s theatre in September.

Those three shows dominate the acting categories, with both Kenneth Branagh (Ivanov) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Othello) competing in the Best Actor category, and Margaret Tyzack and Penelope Wilton (both The Chalk Garden) nominated for Best Actress. They are joined, in their respective categories, by David Calder for King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Lesley Sharp for Harper Regan at the National Theatre.

Felicity Jones, who also appeared in The Chalk Garden, is up against Lex Shrapnel (Henry IV Part I at the Roundhouse) and Ella Smith (Fat Pig at Trafalgar Studios and the Comedy theatre) for Outstanding Newcomer.

Grandage is joined in the Best Director category by Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Michael Boyd, for the Histories cycle at the Roundhouse, and John Tiffany for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch at the Barbican. The trio have emerged from a longlist which included this year’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning director Rupert Goold.  

The Pitmen Painters is the only one of three longlisted National Theatre productions in the Best Play category to make the shortlist. It goes up against Black Watch (Barbican) and Christopher Shinn’s Now Or Later at the Royal Court.

The Royal Court completes a hat trick of nominations with two of its young playwrights recognised in the Most Promising Newcomer category – Bola Agbaje for Gone Too Far!, which won a Laurence Olivier Award earlier this year, and Anupama Chandrasekhar for Free Outgoing. They are joined by Tarell Alvin McCraney for his plays In The Red And Brown Water and The Brothers Size, which both played at the Young Vic.

The Young Vic matches the Royal Court with a further two nominations – Miriam Buether competes for Best Design for her aquatic staging of In The Red And Brown Water, while Street Scene contends Best Musical.

La Cage Aux Folles (Playhouse theatre) and Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket) complete the Best Musical category, having fended off competition from longlisted musicals Eurobeat and Jersey Boys.

The winners of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards will be announced in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on 24 November, hosted by Richard Wilson.

The shortlist

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)


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