The winners of the Laurence Olivier Awards were announced last night (3 April), with NHB plays triumphing in a range of categories.
Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale won Best New Comedy. An exhilarating take on the heady world of Restoration theatre, Nell Gwynn was first seen last year at Shakespeare's Globe and is currently playing at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End with Gemma Arterton in the title role. Time Out declared it 'superbly funny… a juicy, well-wrought thing of great fun, a wonderfully layered celebration of theatre, but most of all an apt homage to a woman incredibly ahead of her time'.
The night's biggest winner was Stephen Sondheim musical Gypsy, which took home four Awards: Best Musical Revival, Best Actress in a Musical (Imelda Staunton), Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Lara Pulver), and Best Costume Design. The production began life in Chichester, before transferring to the West End to great acclaim.
Other NHB successes included The Winter's Tale - with Judi Dench securing Best Supporting Actress, thereby setting a new record of eight Olivier Awards - and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which won Best Revival.
2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards. These new recipients join dozens of NHB plays that have triumphed over the years, including King Charles III (Best New Play, 2015), Clybourne Park (Best New Play, 2011), The Pride (Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, 2009), Death and the Maiden (Play of the Year, 1992), Jeeves & Wooster in 'Perfect Nonsense' (Best New Comedy, 2014), Stones In His Pockets (Best Comedy, 2001) Mojo (Best Comedy, 1996) and Sweeney Todd (Best New Musical, 1980).