Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2019

Olivier Awards: Company, Come From Away and The Inheritance among the big winners | Ents & Arts News

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A gender-swapping revival of Company, a musical about 9/11 and a seven-hour play about gay men in New York were the biggest winners at the Olivier Awards.

Each of the shows took away four prizes at the ceremony, which celebrates the best of UK theatre and West End shows.

Stephen Daldry accepts the Best Director award on stage during The Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Stephen Daldry was named best director for The Inheritance
Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper, winners of the Best Musical Revival award for 'Company', on stage during The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper, winners of the best musical revival award for Company

Company, which retells Stephen Sondheim’s musical about a 30-something playing the field through the lead character of a woman, Bobbie, rather than a man, picked up the awards for best supporting actor and actress, best musical revival and best set design.

Come From Away, which tells the story of the Canadian town of Gander, where thousands of aeroplane passengers were diverted in the aftermath of 9/11, was named best new musical, and also won the awards for outstanding achievement in music, choreography and sound design.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Darcey Bussell and Richard E Grant present the special award to Matthew Bourne
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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Darcey Bussell and Richard E Grant present the special award to Matthew Bourne

Director Marianne Elliott said the show’s success was partly down to “a wind of change blowing in the industry, where celebrating female stories is not only possible, but absolutely vital”.

The Inheritance, which deals with the impact of the AIDS epidemic, was named best new play, as well as winning the awards for best actor and director, and lighting design.

Matthew Lopez, accepting the Best New Play award for 'The Inheritance' on stage during The Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Matthew Lopez said The Inheritance was the end of his journey towards acceptance
Patsy Ferran (second right) winner of the Best Actress award for 'Summer And Smoke' with presenters Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox during The Olivier Awards with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Best actress Patsy Ferran (second right) pictured with presenters Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox

Writer Matthew Lopez said after the ceremony that the play marked the end of a long journey from fear to acceptance over his sexuality.

“I grew up in the 1990s in the panhandle of Florida which is very religiously conservative area,” he said. “I grew up in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.

Kyle Soller with the award for Best Actor and Patsy Ferran with the award for Best Actress during The Olivier Awards with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Kyle Soller and Patsy Ferran, who won the best actor and actress awards
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall talks to host Jason Manford after attending the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on April 7, 2019 in London
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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with host Jason Manford

“I was seven when I first understood what was going on in the world. I grew up equating being gay with dying.

“It took years to accept who I was and claim my place in the world. This play feels like a culmination of that very long journey.”

Kyle Soller, who was named best actor for his role in the play, beating competition from veteran British actors Sir Ian McKellen and David Suchet, said he felt the show was “doing so much more than theatre”.

“I’ve never worked on a job where I felt like I was working on something so much grander than myself,” he said.

“It’s like I’m doing a service, to be representing a community with so much hurt, and so much pain.”

Danny Dyer on the red carpet ahead of the Olivier Awards
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Danny Dyer greeted fans on the red carpet ahead of the ceremony

Choreographer Matthew Bourne won this year’s special award, meaning he equals Dame Judi Dench for the most Oliviers won – eight.

Other winners included Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who was named best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Ike Turner in Tina, the Tina Turner musical.

Summer And Smoke picked up two prizes, with the play’s star Patsy Ferran beating competition from the likes of Gillian Anderson to be named best actress.

Sharon D Clarke, for her performance as the maid to a family in the American south in the 1960s in Caroline, Or Change, was named best actress in a musical.

Cast and crew of Come From Away celebrate winning the Best New Musical award on stage during The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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9/11 musical Come From Away was one of the big winners
Sharon D. Clarke, winner of the Best Actress in a Musical award for 'Caroline, Or Change', on stage during The Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on April 07, 2019
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Sharon D Clarke was named best actress in a musical, for Caroline, Or Change

The Duchess of Cornwall was among the attendees at the event, which took place at the Royal Albert Hall and was hosted by comedian Jason Manford.

She got a shout out from Danny Dyer, who presented an award, saying: “Shout out to the duchess up there. No Charlie tonight I see. I’ll pop up and see you later.”



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