The 2016 Olivier Awards took place at the rather glamorous setting of the Royal Opera House and there was lots to celebrate – not least the fact it is the 40th anniversary of the awards… 

From watching the highlights on ITV last night, it would be easy to feel jealous of those sitting in the audience for this special occasion for there were some top notch performances from the likes of Guys & Dolls, In The Heights  and Gypsy (to name a few) as well as the awards themselves.

First up – a huge congratulations to Judi Dench for winning her eighth Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a play for her performance in The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre. This is the most awards any one person has won at the Oliviers in its forty year history.

It was also nice to see that Kenneth Cranham won the award for Best Actor in a Play for his role in The Father, which has just completed its latest West End run, as opposed to the hotly tipped Benedict Cumberbatch or Mark Rylance – who although are talented actors it is great to see it go to an actor whose performance perhaps didn’t make as many headlines.

Of course, there are a few non-surprises thrown in there as well, with awards for Imelda Staunton for Best Actress in a Musical for her incredible performance in Gypsy and Best New Musical for Kinky Boots – which has proved popular with audiences and critics alike.

It was great to hear that Matt Henry won Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Kinky Boots – a delightful and charismatic performance that people really need to witness if they haven’t seen the show yet.

Also positive to see Jessica Swale’s play about the actress Nell Gwynn win Best New Comedy – even if Gemma Arterton sadly missed out on Best Actress in a Play award to Denise Gough for People, Places and Things.

In the Heights also did well with Drew McOnie winning for Best Theatre Choreographer, David Bedella for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Music. 

All in all a great variety of winners, that truly showcased the talents of everyone involved with theatre and a perfect way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards.

Other winners on the night included:

Best Musical Revival: Gypsy 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical: Lara Pulver for Gypsy 

Audience Award: The Phantom of the Opera 

Best New Play: Hangmen (Royal Court Theatre/Wyndham’s Theatre) 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Gatiss for Three Days in the Country (National Theatre) 

Best Revival: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom  (National Theatre)

Best Director: Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre

Best Entertainment and Family: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Apollo Theatre) 

Best Costume Design: Gregg Barnes for Kinky Boots 

Best Set Design: Anna Fleischle for Hangmen



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