Andrew Scott wins stage gong for play about fame

Andrew Scott has won a stage award while many theatres remain closed because of the pandemic.

The Fleabag star landed best actor at the Olivier Awards for his role in Present Laughter, a modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness.

The virtual ceremony, hosted by Jason Manford, was originally scheduled for April but was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen picked up a seventh Olivier Award (Matt Crossick/PA)

Sunday night’s pre-recorded ceremony, which aired on ITV, also saw Sharon D Clarke win best actress for Death Of A Salesman at the Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre.

The ceremony honoured Sir Ian McKellen with his seventh Olivier Award for his 80th Birthday tour.

Sir Ian told Manford of the “crazy idea” behind the tour.

“I didn’t want to have a birthday party,” he said.

“I didn’t think there was anything to celebrate.

“So, I thought if I go out of London no-one will be able to find me …  I initially thought I’ll go around the world … then when I counted up there were nearly 80 theatres that I knew and loved in this country so I thought why bother going abroad.”

Lyricist Don Black received a special award from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Duchess of Cornwall, who urged the theatre industry to “please remain resilient”.

Thanks to the power of technology, some winners will virtually be in the room where it happens! #OlivierAwardspic.twitter.com/6VMp8TCgcs

— Olivier Awards (@OlivierAwards) October 25, 2020

Pre-recorded at the London Palladium, the awards came as Shakespeare’s Globe and the Old Vic theatre were among recent recipients of the Government’s £1.57 billion culture recovery fund.

Asked about a plan to bring some theatre back by Christmas, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said “very strong headwinds” have “limited what we can do”.

But he previously told MPs: “We are continuing the work behind the scenes to ensure that we can get things going again.”

Leopoldstadt, which was written by Sir Tom Stoppard and shown at the Wyndham’s Theatre, was named best new play.

Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward Theatre won best new musical.

Choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne became the individual with the most Olivier Awards, winning his ninth.

He won best theatre choreographer alongside Stephen Mear for Mary Poppins.

Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell won the Sir Peter Hall best director award.

Present Laughter, at The Old Vic, also won a second award – supporting actress for Indira Varma.

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