The Young Vic was the big winner at today's Critics' Circle Awards, collecting a trio of accolades. The Southwark venue was closely followed by the husband and wife team of Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti, who won a pair between them.
Actress Hattie Morahan repeated her Evening Standard Theatre Awards success, collecting the Best Actress prize for her performance as Ibsen's feminist hero Nora in the Young Vic's production of A Doll's House, a role she will reprise in April. She was joined on the venue's enviable list of winners by Benedict Andrews, crowned Best Director for his high concept reworking of Three Sisters and Miriam Buether, given the Best Design award for her constantly transforming Wild Swans set.
Chakrabarti, like Morahan, made it an award double with her accolade in the Most Promising Playwright category, collecting the prize for the Tricycle theatre's acclaimed production of Red Velvet. But while husband Lester missed out on the Best Actor award at the Evening Standard's, he won the Critics' Circle prize for his performance as Ira Aldridge in Chakrabarti's drama that tells of the young black American actor's performance as Othello in 19th century London.
Privates On Parade star Simon Russell Beale completed the trio of double winners, following his Evening Standard Best Actor success with the Critics' Circle Best Shakespearean Performance Award for his "arresting performance", as we wrote, in Timon Of Athens at the National Theatre.
ENRON playwright Lucy Prebble, a former winner of the Most Promising Playwright award, collected the Best New Play prize for drug trial drama The Effect, which can currently be seen at the National Theatre, while the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical went to Merrily We Roll Along, Maria Friedman's directorial debut at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
The day's winners were completed by actress Denise Gough, whose performance in Desire Under The Elms at the Lyric Hammersmith won her the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer, and Shakespeare's Globe, which won the Special Award for its presentation of the extraordinary Globe To Globe season that included 37 Shakespearean plays performed in 37 different languages.
Double winners Morahan and Beale must now have one eye on completing an enviable triple win at the Olivier Awards, UK theatre's most prestigious prize, though awards season is full of surprises. The world will discover who has been nominated on 26 March, before nominees, stars and surprise guests make their way to the Royal Opera House for the glamorous awards ceremony on 28 April.