Katie Hopkins musical wins UK Theatre Award

image captionKatie Hopkins is a former Apprentice contestant turned divisive TV personality

A musical that uses the imagined death of contentious columnist Katie Hopkins as its starting point has been named best musical at the UK Theatre Awards.

The Assassination of Katie Hopkins ran at Theatr Clwyd in Wales in April.

Actress Maxine Peake and director Sir Richard Eyre won honorary accolades at the awards, which recognise the best stage shows presented outside London.

Accepting her outstanding contribution award, Peake said regional theatre had let her "do work she wanted to do".

"People keep saying to me 'you've given so much to regional theatre,'" said the 44-year-old star of TV's Dinner Ladies and Silk.

"I haven't given anything, it's given it to me."

image copyrightPamela Raith
image captionSir Richard Eyre and Maxine Peake received honorary awards

Peake thanked Sarah Frankcom, artistic director of the Royal Exchange in Manchester, for the "belief" she had shown in her by casting her in such shows as Happy Days and as the lead in Hamlet.

Frankcom was also recognised at Sunday's ceremony with a best director prize, for last year's Royal Exchange revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.

Others awarded at the event, held at the Guildhall in London, included former Coronation Street actress Denise Black.

The actress, who played Denise Osbourne in the ITV soap, won the best performance in a play award for her work in The Cherry Orchard at Cardiff's Sherman Theatre.

Northern Ballet won the achievement in dance award for its "bold and varied programming" while The Mill at Sonning was named the UK's "most welcoming theatre."

image copyrightPamela Raith
image captionSir Ian McKellen presented Eyre with his award on Sunday

Attendees on Sunday included actor Sir Ian McKellen, who presented Sir Richard with an award for "excellence in the dramatic arts" named after Sir John Gielgud.

Its recipient said the Burnley-born actor was "a wonderful actor and a very good friend" and described him as the "natural artistic son" of the award's distinguished namesake.

The Assassination of Katie Hopkins, which received three-star reviews from The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Stage, tells of two young women and their different responses to Hopkins' fictional killing.

It is not known if Hopkins, a former contestant on BBC One's The Apprentice, has seen the show, though she did write about it in January.

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