Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018: Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo take home top acting prizes

Jessie Thompson

The winners of the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards have been announced, with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo taking home the top acting prizes.

The pair were honoured for their performances as passionate lovers divided by politics in Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre, whilst Matthew Lopez’s epic two-parter The Inheritance was named as Best Play.

The star-studded ceremony, co-hosted by Idris Elba, Claire Foy, Evgeny Lebedev and Anna Wintour, took place at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, with Phoebe-Waller Bridge as the evening’s presenter.

Okonedo was presented with the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, in partnership with Christian Louboutin, by Bodyguard star Richard Madden.

Her “magical” performance saw her named the winner in a category that included Carey Mulligan, Lia Williams, Cecilia Noble and Laura Linney.

The Crown star Claire Foy presented Fiennes with the Best Actor Award, in partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group, for a “memorably intense” performance. Also shortlisted were Bryan Cranston, Ian McKellen, Colin Morgan and Kyle Soller.

Two of the most anticipated musicals of the past twelve months picked up a number of gongs, with Marianne Elliott winning the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director for Company, and the show’s star Rosalie Craig named winner of Best Musical Performance.

Hamilton overcame stiff competition to win the Best Musical Award, which was presented by Idris Elba, and leading man Jamael Westman was given the Emerging Talent Award, in partnership with Access Entertainment.

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright, named in honour of the former Editor of the Evening Standard, went to Natasha Gordon for her five-star play Nine Night.

Described as a “remarkable debut” that captures the “humour of everyday life” by critic Henry Hitchings, it will transfer to the West End in December. The award was presented by Bea Carrozzini, Wintour’s granddaughter.

Stella McCartney presented the award for Best Design to Miriam Buether for her work on The Jungle, which reconfigured the auditorium into a makeshift cafe in the Calais Jungle.

Patti LuPone, who is currently starring in Company, presented Sir Cameron Mackintosh with the Lebedev Award in recognition for his contribution to musical theatre. In the past year, Sir Cameron helped bring Hamilton to the London stage, and has been a leading figure in the West End’s vibrant musical scene for the past 50 years.

The glitzy ceremony featured performances from some of the West End’s most popular shows.

Jonathan Bailey, Alex Gaumond and Daisy Maywood helped kick-start the night’s proceedings by performing Getting Married Today from Company; later musical interludes included Hamilton’s Michael Jibson singing You’ll Be Back, and shortlisted star Sharon D Clarke singing Lot’s Wife from Caroline, or Change.

Alongside the prizes and performances, designer John Galliano provided a tribute to the behind-the-scenes heroes of theatre, in partnership with Maison Margiela.

In a heartfelt dedication to theatre’s dressers, he revealed that he began his career as a dresser at the National Theatre after leaving St Martin’s School of Art. He then invited 26 dressers from London’s theatres on stage to take a bow.

This year’s Theatre Awards’ Official Platinum Partner is Michael Kors.

Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018: The winners in full

Best Actor, in partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group

Ralph Fiennes Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre)

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, in partnership with Christian Louboutin

Sophie Okonedo Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre)

Best Play, in partnership with Chanel

The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez (Young Vic & Noël Coward Theatre)

Milton Shulman Award for Best Director

Marianne Elliott Company (Gielgud Theatre)

Best Musical

Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre)

Best Musical Performance

Rosalie Craig Company (Gielgud Theatre)

Best Design

Miriam Buether The Jungle (Young Vic & Playhouse Theatre)

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright

Natasha Gordon Nine Night (National Theatre)

Emerging Talent Award, in partnership with Access Entertainment

Jamael Westman Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre)

Lebedev Award

Sir Cameron Mackintosh For his contribution to musical theatre