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What the Olivier winners said (Pt 2)

Published 29 April 2013

As the creative teams nominated for this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard gathered at the Royal Opera House to celebrate the very best of British theatre, we were backstage to be the first to capture the winners’ responses.

Nica Burns and Kim Poster, producers of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, winner of Best Revival

How does it feel to have won?
KP: We’re over the moon. For the commercial theatre to put on a classic play like this and be recognised by our peers really is thrilling.
NB: I’m speechless, which is a bit of a first [laughs].

It’s been an ambition of yours to put this play on for a while, hasn’t it?
NB: Seven years. It’s a very difficult play and we tried to cast it for a long time. And then Kim came and brought David Suchet to the table and David Suchet is what made it work. After we had David, we could build the rest of the cast.

How does it compare to other productions you’ve worked on?
KP: It’s a very complex play. We were lucky because we elected to tour it for six weeks and we worked and worked and worked on it.

So it changed a lot during the tour?
KP: Hugely. I would say by about 70 per cent. To see the process when it went on tour before it came into the West End was really a privilege and it was because of these five brilliantly gifted actors just refining every single moment to find Eugene O’Neill’s messages was thrilling.

Do you have somewhere to put the award?
NB: Centre stage on the mantelpiece. No doorstops or lavatories for me. I’m proud of this.

Jon Morrell, winner of Best Costume Design for Top Hat

How does it feel to have won against such strong competitors, many of which are previous Olivier Award winners?
Very exciting and very surprising. They are all incredibly experienced designers so it’s incredible to even be nominated amongst them. That was amazing, that was enough.

David Wood and Angus Jackson, writer and director of Goodnight Mister Tom, winner of Best Entertainment and Family

How does it feel after the near miss last year? [Wood’s adaptation of The Tiger Who Came To Tea was nominated in this category in 2012]
DW: It feels wonderful… second time lucky! It’s very exciting. I’m particularly pleased with this one because I’ve wanted the rights to do this for 20 to 25 years, and it’s taken all this time and finally we got it together – thanks to Angus.
AJ: Well thanks to you and to everybody.

So it’s a special piece?
DW: It is to me, yes, it was very much a labour of love. I read the novel 25 to 30 years ago because I’d adapted Michelle [Magorian]’s other book Back Home for television, and as a result of that I said ‘Do you think I could possibly do this for the stage?’ and she said ‘Well I’m not quite sure’ and there were all sorts of problems with the rights but all’s well now, all’s well now.

Michael Frayn, winner of a Special Award

How does this feel?
Absolutely wonderful. A Special Award! I’m extremely pleased to have it and, as I said in my speech, I’m particularly pleased to have it from Roger [Allam] who is a very great actor who has done wonderful things in my plays.

Do you have any writing plans for the future?
I’m doing the screenplay for my last novel Skios but after that I think I really am going to put my feet up. I think it is time for retirement.

Dominic Cooke, Artistic Director of the Royal Court, winner of the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for the season of work in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs

It has been an exciting few weeks, how does it feel to win?
It’s fantastic. It’s a real honour. It was an amazing season. We started with Constellations and ended up with Polly Stenham. There was such a range of work there. I mean it’s not really for me, I’m just a figurehead for picking it up.

What is the achievement you’re most proud of from your time at the Royal Court?
It’s all about the writers. Firstly, it’s been about the next generation of writers and then it was about taking the more experienced writers like Jez Butterworth, Lucy Prebble and David Eldridge on to write really major plays. You’ve got to look after all the generations. I’m also proud of Theatre Local where we took the work out of its very privileged little ghetto in Sloane Square, and the board of the Royal Court are now committed to making this a core part of the Royal Court’s profile.

Linda Brumbach and Louise Jeffreys, executive producer and Barbican director of programming for Einstein On The Beach, winner of Outstanding Achievement in Opera

How does it feel to have won?
It’s extraordinary. I am completely amazed that this production that was created in 1976 – the same year the Oliviers started – has been honoured this way. It took such a long time. We’ve been working together for over 10 years, I think, to try to make this happen so that it should end like this is wonderful. Those artists as well, all three of them are in their 70s now and still on the experimental cutting edge. That is an inspiration.

Bill Deamer, winner of the Autograph Sound Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for Top Hat

How does it feel to have won?
Oh my god! I am just… it’s a dream come true. I’m really emotional. It’s been two years of my life creating this show and I had to believe in it so much. It’s the best thing that has happened in my life.

How does Top Hat compare to other productions you’ve worked on?
It doesn’t get better than this. I’ve worked all over the world but this is truly one of the… well it is the highlight of my career.

Have you got anywhere special to put the award?
Well, I’ve just moved house and funnily enough I’ve just had a new marble fireplace put in and it’s going to sit on top of that, pride of place.

Jonathan Kent, director of Sweeney Todd, winner of Best Musical Revival

How does it feel to have won?
It’s great! It’s was a really wonderful experience.

Obviously Michael [Ball] and Imelda [Staunton]’s performances were outstanding, do you think that contributed to the success of the production?
Totally. They were remarkable. A remarkable team. The whole lot were a team though, that’s what was so moving about it. And as I said in my speech, they led the company more brilliantly than any company I’ve ever been in.

Do you have somewhere special to put your award?
Well, it’s all our awards so everybody’s allowed to lick it I think.


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