Mark Rylance has been awarded his third Tony Award for his Olivier Award nominated role in the Broadway transfer of Shakespeare’s Globe’s acclaimed production of Twelfth Night.
Succeeding in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category, which included competition from fellow Brits and Twelfth Night co-stars Paul Chahidi and Stephen Fry, Rylance was celebrated for his role as Olivia in Tim Carroll’s all-female production that played in rep with Richard III.
Transferring to Broadway following its huge success in London both at Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End, Rylance’s emotional acceptance speech at last night’s glamourous New York ceremony saw the two-time Olivier Award winner and former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe divert from the normal, quirky acceptance speeches for which he has become famed and instead pay tribute to the Globe’s founder Sam Wanamaker.
“In 1969, Sam had seen the model of the Globe at the Chicago World Fair, was shocked to find there was no Globe theatre in London and spent the last 25 years of his life cajoling, harassing many people to rebuild the Globe; many of them American, benefactors, actors, scholars,” the actor explained.
“The work that you’re celebrating tonight of Stephen [Fry] and Paul [Chahadi] and all the wonderful nominees you’ve made in our two productions, we are children of Sam Wanamaker’s vision. I used to feel many times on stage when I was playing the Countess Olivia or Richard III, Sam standing next to me there saying back to this community: ‘Look what I went and showed them. I went and showed them how they could be truer to Shakespeare than they realised they could be’, and that’s something that you as Americans have given us so thank you ever so much for this beautiful award.”
The show’s success continued with Twelfth Night’s Costume Designer Jenny Tiramani picking up the Best Costume Design of a Play later that evening. Accepting the award, the UK designer described the laborious process of creating costumes in the show’s ambitious original practice style as a “wonderful adventure”, saying: “A thousand thank yous for all the teams that worked on it in England and here.”
Rounding up the evening’s triumph for the many UK actors and creatives that were nominated for awards at the New York ceremony was actor Sophie Okonedo, who won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her critically acclaimed performance in the Best Revival of A Play-winning A Raisin In The Sun.
For a full list of winners from the star-studded event, photos of the Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony and videos of the winners collecting their prizes, visit the Tony Awards website.