Sheen won for the barking-mad emperor Caligula in the Albert Camus play of that name at the Donmar Warehouse. It was a surprise win for the 35-year old, edging out favorites Kenneth Branagh and Warren Mitchell. Other surprises included Polly Teale’s Best Director award for After Mrs. Rochester, beating Democracy’s Michael Blakemore and The Elephant Vanishes’s Simon McBurney. Also Sandy McDade’s Best Actress prize for Iron, beating Eileen Atkins for Honour and Ann Mitchell for Through The Leaves.
Jerry Springer: The Opera won Best Musical. No surprise there, after the ecstatic reviews. It beat another well-received National Theatre hit, Anything Goes. NT boss Nicholas Hytner told the Evening Standard, “We’ve been very lucky to be at the receiving end of a great burst of creativity…”.
The awards, as usual, were attended by plenty of famous theatre-folk, including Vanessa Redgrave, David Hare, Bill Nighy, Jeremy Irons, Jerry Hall, Paul Scofield, Sinead Cusack, Zoe Wanamaker, Stephen Poliakoff and Diana Quick. Comedian Rory Bremner hosted.
The awards in full follow:
Best Actor: Michael Sheen, Caligula
Best Actress: Sandy McDade, Iron
Best Play: Democracy by Michael Frayn
Best Musical: Jerry Springer: The Opera
Best Director: Polly Teale, ,After Mrs. Rochester,
Best Stage Designer: Christopher Oram, Caligula
Most Promising Playwright: Kwame Kwei-Armah, Elmina’s Kitchen
Outstanding Newcomer: Tom Hardy, Blood/In Arabia We’d All Be Kings
Special Award: Max Stafford-Clark
Patricia Rothermere Award : Lord Richard Attenborough (for his support of young actors)
Patricia Rothermere Scholarship: Elif Yesil