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Royal Court triumphs in Critics’ Circle Awards

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Tue 26 Jan 2010 13:28

Jude Law, Mark Rylance and Rachel Weisz were honoured at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2010, which were announced today at a ceremony at the Prince of Wales theatre.

The awards, which are decided by the independent votes of the drama section of the Critics’ Circle, proved fortuitous for subsidised theatre, with the Royal Court, the Donmar Warehouse and the Lyric Hammersmith winning across all nine categories.

The Best Actor, Actress, Play, Director and Most Promising Playwright winners all mirrored last November’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Mark Rylance and Rachel Weisz won for their performances in Jerusalem at the Royal Court and A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse respectively, Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem was named Best New Play and Rupert Goold took home the Best Director award for the Royal Court production of Lucy Prebble’s Enron, which opens in the West End tonight.

The Royal Court’s quartet of awards was completed by playwright Alia Bano’s win for Shades, which played in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs last year. It is the third year running that the Royal Court has collected the Most Promising Playwright award, following Alexi Kaye Campbell for The Pride and Polly Stenham for That Face.

Law collected the Best Shakespearean Performance Award for his Hamlet in the Donmar Warehouse’s West End season. Collecting the award, Law said it was a "huge surprise and means an incredible amount to me."

Designer Christopher Oram made it a hat trick for the Donmar by winning Best Designer for the venue’s recent production of Red.

In a departure from the results of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, the Lyric Hammersmith’s production of the musical Spring Awakening was named Best Musical, and Most Promising Newcomer went to Tom Sturridge for his performance in Simon Stephens’s Punk Rock, also at the Lyric Hammersmith. Sturridge missed out to Lenny Henry in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Sturridge, who starred in Richard Curtis's last film The Boat That Rocked, told Official London Theatre that making his stage debut in Punk Rock was the best experience he has ever had. "This was the first experience I ever had on stage and it was totally revelatory. It was amazing to realise there’s a different way you can live your life if you want to be an actor."

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards come in the middle of an awards season that will finish with Theatreland’s most prestigious accolades, the Laurence Olivier Awards, held on Sunday 21 March. This year’s ceremony includes the new Audience Award, voted for by the theatregoing public. Vote now on Official London Theatre and find out if your choice makes the shortlist when the nominations are announced in February.

CB

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Award winners in full:

Best New Play
Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth (Royal Court)

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival)
Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello theatre)

Best Actor
Mark Rylance in Jerusalem (Royal Court)

Best Actress
Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire (Donmar Warehouse)

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance
Jude Law in Hamlet (Donmar at Wyndham’s theatre)

Best Director
Rupert Goold for Enron (Headlong at Minerva theatre Chichester and Royal Court)

Best Designer
Christopher Oram for Red (Donmar Warehouse)

Most Promising Playwright
Alia Bano for Shades (Royal Court)

The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright)
Tom Sturridge in Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith)

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