Islington’s Almeida Theatre sweeps the board at the Olivier Awards
- Credit: Archant
Islington’s intimate Almeida Theatre beat competition from multi-million-pound West End productions at London’s most prestigious awards ceremony for the stage – winning a third of the trophies up for grabs.
Performers, shows and those behind the scenes at the venue in Almeida Street were nominated for 11 Olivier Awards and scooped eight top gongs at Sunday night’s glittering event.
Its home-grown play Chimerica won five awards at the Royal Opera House ceremony, more than any other show, including smash hits Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Book of Mormon.
Chimerica, now running in the West End after a sell-out run at the Almeida, brought home five awards, including Best New Play and the coveted Best Director crown for Lyndsey Turner.
Almeida’s Ghosts also won big, scooping Best Actress for Lesley Manville as well as nods for Best Revival and Best Supporting Actor.
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Critical acclaim is nothing new for the 325-seat Almeida, after critics branded geopolitical drama Chimerica “the play of the year”, with many praising the theatre’s “intimate” atmosphere.
The theatre’s latest productions, 1984, which is up for best new play, and musical American Psycho, are also set to move to the West End, with the former due to start a three-month stint next month.
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Ms Manville, who beat theatre veteran Dame Judy Dench to her top award, said, “Oh Larry, where have you been all my life?” while clutching her award, a bust of Laurence Olivier.
She added: “I’m so happy, I’m fizzing with delight.” Best Director winner Ms Turner said she was “completely and utterly overwhelmed” by the award.
Pete Courtie, Islington Council’s interim head of partnerships, employability and culture, said: “This has been an amazing year for the Almeida which has rightly been recognised at the Olivier Awards as a real powerhouse on the London theatre scene.
“Just as impressively, the Almeida has continued to support the next generation of talent though the Almeida Projects and Young Friends Programme.
“We’re incredibly proud of the Almeida’s achievements, both on and off the main stage, and look forward to exciting times ahead.”