Entertainment & Arts

Gillian Anderson and Tom Hiddleston win at Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Gillian Anderson and Tom Hiddleston Image copyright Dave Benett
Image caption Gillian Anderson and Tom Hiddleston won best actress and actor

Gillian Anderson and Tom Hiddleston have taken the top acting honours at this year's London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Anderson won for her role as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire - a part she had coveted for 30 years.

Hiddleston said he was "so proud" to win for his title role in Coriolanus.

The awards, at the London Palladium, included a surprise appearance by singer Kate Bush, whose comeback series of concerts were given a special award.

Her Before the Dawn shows at the Hammersmith Apollo won the editor's award for creating "a new high in music performance".

After receiving the award from Sir Ian McKellen on Sunday night, Bush thanked her audiences for "driving us on and filling us with energy".

Picking up her best actress statuette, Anderson said: "I haven't done that many plays and any time I do one I feel like an imposter."

Hiddleston described Coriolanus as a "bloody, brutal, angry play". He revealed he'd had four stitches in his head during the run and "had the scars to prove it".

Among the guests at the event, presented by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, were David and Victoria Beckham, Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, Naomi Campbell, Sienna Miller and Dame Helen Mirren.

The award for best play went to Rona Munro's epic trilogy The James Plays about three generations of Stewart Kings who ruled Scotland. Picking up the award, Munro quipped: "Who knew 15th Century Scottish history could be so interesting?"

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Benedict Cumberbatch attended the awards with his fiancee Sophie Hunter
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Billie Piper was among the best actress nominees for her role in phone-hacking satire Great Britain
Image copyright Alex Bramall
Image caption Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon presented the awards

The Scottsboro Boys, a true tale of racist bigotry in 1930s Alabama, won best musical. Jeremy Herrin was awarded the prize for best director for his RSC productions of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Actress Laura Jane Matthewson won the emerging talent award for her performance in Dogfight, based on the 1991 River Phoenix film, at the Southwark Playhouse.

She created one of the biggest cheers of the night when she said: "It's such an honour to be invited to an event like this and not be serving the drinks."

Beth Steel was named most promising playwright for Wonderland, her drama at Hampstead Theatre about clashing ideologies during the miners' strike in 1984. She said her father had come to see the play in the same week that he retired "from a life's work down in the pit".

"I'd like to thank him for sharing that world with me and for being the greatest example of tenacity and hard work without which I wouldn't be accepting this today," she added.

The best design category was won by Es Devlin for American Psycho.

At the end of the ceremony playwright Tom Stoppard received a lifetime achievement award from Benedict Cumberbatch.

Winners of the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards:

  • Best actor: Tom Hiddleston (Coriolanus, Donmar Warehouse)
  • Best actress: Gillian Anderson (A Streetcar Named Desire, Young Vic)
  • Best play: The James Plays (Rona Munro, Edinburgh Festival Theatre & National Theatre's Olivier)
  • Best musical: The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic & Garrick)
  • Best director: Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies, RSC Swan & Aldwych)
  • Emerging talent award: Laura Jane Matthewson (Dogfight, Southwark Playhouse)
  • Best design: Es Devlin (American Psycho, Almeida)
  • Most promising playwright: Beth Steel (Wonderland, Hampstead)
  • Lebedev award: Tom Stoppard (The greatest living playwright)
  • Editor's award: Kate Bush for Before the Dawn (A new high in music performance)
  • Beyond Theatre: Here Lies Love (For pushing the boundaries of the musical)
  • Revival of the year: Skylight

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