Kevin Spacey honoured by Oliviers

Reporter: Charlotte Marshall, first published Thu 26 Feb 2015 00:01
Kevin Spacey in Clarence Darrow at the Old VicKevin Spacey in Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)/servlet/file/store5/item229910/version1/fileservice770/229910_770_preview.jpg

Kevin Spacey will be presented with a prestigious Special Award at this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard to acknowledge his monumental contribution to British theatre during his tenure as Artistic Director of the Old Vic.

Marking Spacey’s second Olivier Award, following his Best Actor win in 1999 for The Iceman Cometh, the honour comes as the Academy Award-winning actor, director and producer prepares to step down from his position at the acclaimed venue following an incredible 11 years at the helm.

Spacey threw the Old Vic into the spotlight across the world in 2004 when the hugely successful US star began his leadership. In the years that followed, Spacey reinvigorated the theatre’s now extraordinary reputation with a programme of critically acclaimed work that has attracted some of the world’s most renowned actors to its stage.

Spacey himself has appeared in numerous productions during his time at the venue, with credits including National Anthems, The Philadelphia Story, Richard II, A Moon For The Misbegotten, Speed-The-Plow, Inherit The Wind and Sam Mendes' production of Richard III, which transferred to New York. He will make his last appearance at the venue as Artistic Director next month as he reprises his title role in the revival of 2014’s hugely successful Clarence Darrow.

His role at the theatre has extended far beyond acting and directing credits however, enabling a unique programme of innovative education and community work that has made an impact on the lives of more than 100,000 young people and local residents. The venue’s mentoring programme for emerging talent, Old Vic New Voices, has also won plaudits for its vital work.

Alongside Spacey’s work at the theatre, he has continued his acclaimed screen work – most recently keeping people wedded to their Netflix accounts to witness his astonishing performance as Frank Underwood in House Of Cards – all of which has undoubtedly helped raise the profile of the Old Vic across the world. 

Speaking about the honour, Caro Newling, President of the Society of London Theatre, commented: “The Society of London Theatre is delighted to formally acknowledge Kevin Spacey’s outstanding contribution to the Old Vic. In general his advocacy of London theatre has been a constant boon, and many of us will miss him as a valued colleague."

In accepting this Olivier Award honour, Spacey follows in the footsteps of theatrical giants including Stephen Sondheim, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Harold Pinter and Andrew Lloyd Webber, all of whom have been recipients of the award in past years.

Spacey, who will step down as Artistic Director of the Old Vic this autumn to be succeeded by fellow Olivier Award winner Matthew Warchus, will be presented with the Special Award at the distinguished ceremony at the Royal Opera House on 12 April.

The line-up of nominees who will be hoping to emulate Spacey’s success at the ceremony will be announced on 9 March at an exclusive event at Rosewood London.