facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Ejiofor and Stewart share Shakespearean honour

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 18 April 2008

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Patrick Stewart today jointly received the John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2007, following a “fantastically strong year for Shakespearean performances”.

At the ceremony held at the Prince of Wales, Ejiofor was recognised for playing the title role in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse, which continues until 23 February, while Stewart received the award for his portrayal of Macbeth at the Gielgud, which transferred from Chichester in September 2007.

Critic John Peter of the Sunday Times, who presented Ejiofor with his award, compared his performance in the role of Othello to that of Laurence Olivier in 1964, saying it had “an overwhelming greatness”. Accepting the award, Ejiofor said: “It’s been an extraordinary experience doing this play. I’ve had an exceptional time working with Michael Grandage on it. This is such extraordinary icing to what has been already been the most privileged time.”

This is Stewart’s third accolade in the awards season to date, having already won Best Performance in a Play at the Theatrical Management Association Theatre Awards in October and Best Actor at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November. Collecting the Critics’ Circle award, Stewart commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled. This is capping an extraordinary 12 months.” He acknowledged the importance of theatre critics to his early interest in theatre as a 17-year old. “These were the people who fed my appetite for the theatre and gave me ultimately the courage to attempt to become part of that world.”

He added: “It seems to me that this is an extraordinary time in the life of our professional theatre, to have writers, actors and performers, the quality that you see, it’s astonishing. I’m so proud to be part of this profession”.

As at the Evening Standard Awards, it was a double win for Macbeth in today’s ceremony as Rupert Goold, who directed Stewart in the production, picked up Best Director. The duo will soon be recreating the winning partnership in New York as Macbeth opens at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in February.

Anne-Marie Duff claimed the Best Actress prize for her performance in Saint Joan at the National, while Charles Dance received Best Actor for his portrayal of C S Lewis in Williams Nicholson’s Shadowlands, which plays at the Novello until 23 February.

Dance commented: “I’m just very, very grateful and I’m glad that I’m doing it. You are what you seem to be in this business – people have perceptions. If you are lucky enough to be offered a part that enables you to at least attempt to change people’s perceptions, then do what I did and grab it.”

Hairspray was another double winner, picking up the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical and the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer for Leanne Jones, who made her professional debut playing the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the 1960s-set dance musical at the Shaftesbury. Collecting the award, Jones said of getting the part in Hairspray: “I had kind of started to think that it wasn’t going to happen. The fact that it happened in such a huge way, in the biggest, largest show it could have ever happened in, is quite unbelievable. Dreams really can come true.”

In a repeat of the Evening Standard Awards, the critics bestowed the Best New Play award on Simon McBurney and Complicite for A Disappearing Number, which ran at the Barbican in September, 21-year-old Polly Stenham was named Most Promising Playwright for That Face, which played at the Royal Court, and the award for Best Designer went to Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Company for War Horse at the National, which runs until 14 February.

The annual Critics’ Circle Awards celebrate the critics’ personal choice of the best in theatre and are decided by the independent votes of Drama Section members. This year’s ceremony at the Prince of Wales was hosted by Critics’ Circle Chairman Charles Spencer, with fellow critics including Nicholas De Jongh (Evening Standard), Michael Billington (The Guardian) and Georgina Brown (Mail On Sunday) presenting awards. em>CB


Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.