National faces Almeida in Standard showdown

Published November 8, 2013

Acclaimed productions and performances from the National Theatre and Almeida theatre dominate the shortlist for this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The Southbank venue, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a televised gala event, has ten nominations for shows including Othello, The Light Princess, The Effect and The Amen Corner, while the Islington’s Almeida receives seven for shows Ghosts, Chimerica and The Dark Earth And The Light Sky.

Othello co-stars Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear face off against each other in the Best Actor category, where they are joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor, nominated for his performance in the Young Vic’s A Season In The Congo.

If Kinnear loses out in this category, he has a second chance to win, as he is also nominated for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright for his debut play The Herd. Fellow actor/playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge also receives a nomination for Fleabag, as does the Royal Court’s Rachel De-lahay (Routes).

In the Best Director category, past, present and future Directors of the National Theatre are in competition. Current incumbent Nicholas Hytner is nominated for Othello, while his successor Rufus Norris, who will take over in 2014, is nominated for The Amen Corner. Former head of the NT Richard Eyre receives a nomination for Ghosts, with Lyndsey Turner making up the quartet and nominated for her work on Chimerica.

One of this year’s most talked about productions, Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica is also nominated for Best Play alongside two productions with which it is closely connected. Nick Dear’s The Dark Earth And The Light Sky was, like Chimerica, co-produced by the Almeida, while Lucy Prebble’s The Effect was co-produced by another of Chimerica’s producers, Headlong.

The Effect’s Billie Piper, who received an Olivier Award nomination for her performance in this production earlier in the year, is nominated for Best Actress alongside Linda Bassett (Roots, Donmar Warehouse), Lesley Manville (Ghosts, Almeida theatre), Kristin Scott Thomas (Old Times, Harold Pinter theatre), and Helen Mirren (The Audience, Gielgud theatre) who won the 2013 Olivier Award for her performance as the Queen.

In the musical categories, The Book Of Mormon, The Light Princes and Merrily We Roll Along are in contention for the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical, with Rosalie Craig (The Light Princess), Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Charlotte Wakefield (The Sound Of Music) nominated for Best Musical Performance.

The nominees, which also include designers Bob Crowley, Es Devlin, Tim Hatley and Peter Mumford, and newcomers Caoilfhionn Dunne, Seth Numrich, Luke Thompson and Olivia Vinall, will have to wait until the ceremony on 17 November to discover who has won.

At the award ceremony, the Lebedev Special Award, the Editor’s Award for someone who has boosted the profile of theatre, the Beyond Theatre Award, the Emerging Talent Award and the Award for Comedy will also be presented.

The Evening Standard Theatre Awards mark the start of London theatre’s award season, which builds to a climax on 13 April 2014 with the Olivier Awards with MasterCard, London’s most prestigious awards and most glittering theatre event of the year.

Full shortlist:

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, A Season In The Congo (Young Vic)
Rory Kinnear, Othello (National Theatre Olivier)
Adrian Lester, Othello (National Theatre Olivier)

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress

Linda Bassett, Roots (Donmar Warehouse)
Lesley Manville, Ghosts (Almeida)
Helen Mirren, The Audience (Gielgud)
Billie Piper, The Effect (National Theatre Cottesloe)
Kristin Scott Thomas, Old Times (Harold Pinter)

Best Play

Chimerica, Lucy Kirkwood (Almeida & Harold Pinter)
The Dark Earth And The Light Sky, Nick Dear (Almeida)
The Effect, Lucy Prebble (National Theatre Cottesloe)

Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical
The Book Of Mormon (Prince of Wales)
The Light Princess (National Theatre Lyttelton)
Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory & Harold Pinter)

Best Director
Richard Eyre, Ghosts (Almeida)
Nicholas Hytner, Othello (National Theatre Olivier)
Rufus Norris, The Amen Corner (National Theatre Olivier)
Lyndsey Turner, Chimerica (Almeida & Harold Pinter)

Best Design
Bob Crowley, People (National Theatre Lyttelton), The Audience (Gielgud) & Once (Phoenix)
Es Devlin, Chimerica (Almeida)
Tim Hatley (design) & Peter Mumford (lighting), Ghosts (Almeida)

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright
Rachel De-lahay, Routes (Royal Court)
Rory Kinnear, The Herd (Bush)      
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Soho)

Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer
Caoilfhionn Dunne, The Night Alive (Donmar Warehouse)
Seth Numrich, Sweet Bird Of Youth (Old Vic)
Luke Thompson, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe)
Olivia Vinall, Othello (National Theatre Olivier)

Best Musical Performance
Rosalie Craig, The Light Princess (National Theatre Lyttelton)
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory)
Charlotte Wakefield, The Sound Of Music (Regent’s Park Open Air)