Almeida triumphs in Critics’ Circle

Reporter: Kate Stanbury, first published Tue 28 Jan 2014 13:29

Lucy Kirkwood’s hit play Chimerica has emerged the big winner at this year’s Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, taking home three of the coveted prizes at today’s ceremony.

The young playwright’s acclaimed drama about the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, which enjoyed successful runs at the Almeida and in the West End in 2013, was awarded the coveted title of Best New Play. The show’s director Lyndsey Turner and designer Es Devlin completed the play’s trio of awards, rising victorious in the Best Director and Best Designer categories respectively.

Another success for the Almeida came in the form of Ghosts star Lesley Manville. The actress, who missed out on the Evening Standard Theatre Award last year, won the Best Actress accolade for her performance as Helene Alving in Ibsen’s classic play.

The Young Vic’s acclaimed musical The Scottsboro Boys fought off competition from a host of new West End musicals to triumph in the Best Musical category.

Alongside Manville, individual performance accolades went to Lenny Henry and Kate O’Flynn. Henry was awarded the Best Actor prize for his performance in Fences at the Duchess Theatre and Kate O’Flynn was dubbed Most Promising Newcomer for her performance in Simon Stephens’ Port at the National Theatre.

Another actor whose performance on stage at the South Bank venue earned him a 2013 Critics’ Circle Award was Rory Kinnear. The Skyfall actor triumphed over his co-star Adrian Lester to take home the Best Shakespearean Performance award for his role in Othello.

Kinnear’s success didn’t end there. The actor-turned-writer also shared the award for Most Promising Playwright with Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge for his debut play The Herd.

The Critics’ Circle Awards were held today at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the awards that celebrate the stage productions, performers and creatives that have stood out within the industry in the past year, as chosen by a panel of respected arts journalists.

The event brings us ever closer to the most prestigious event in the theatre awards calendar, the Olivier Awards with MasterCard. This year’s star-studded ceremony will take place on 13 April at the Royal Opera House. Following last year’s success, the awards will once again be broadcast on mainstream television in a special programme to be presented on ITV shortly after the ceremony.

Full list of Critics’ Circle Theatre Award 2013 winners:

Most Promising Playwright (joint)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Soho Theatre
Rory Kinnear for The Herd at the Bush Theatre

The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Kate O’Flynn for Port at the National Theatre Lyttelton

Best Designer
Es Devlin for Chimerica at the Almeida and the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best Director
Lyndsey Turner for Chimerica at the Almeida and the Harold Pinter Theatre

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance
Rory Kinnear for Othello at the National Theatre Olivier

Best Actress
Lesley Manville for Ghosts at the Almeida and the Trafalgar Studio 1

Best Actor
Lenny Henry for Fences at the Theatre Royal Bath, on tour and the Duchess Theatre

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical
The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic Theatre

Best New Play
Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica at the Almeida and the Harold Pinter Theatre