Jodie Comer takes centre stage at Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2022

Jodie Comer, winner of the winner of the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, and Stephen Graham   (Dave Benett)
Jodie Comer, winner of the winner of the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, and Stephen Graham (Dave Benett)

Jodie Comer and James McAvoy took home the top acting prizes at the 2022 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The winners at the event celebrating the best of London theatre, in association with Garrard, were revealed at a dinner on Sunday evening at The Ivy in the West End.

The awards were hosted by Evening Standard proprietor Lord Lebedev with actress Sheridan Smith compering the ceremony.

Comer was awarded the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress for her West End debut in Prima Facie. It was presented to the Killing Eve star by her close friend and mentor Stephen Graham.

McAvoy won the Best Actor award for his performance in Cyrano de Bergerac. The His Dark Materials star was unable to attend the event, so compere Smith picked up the award on his behalf.

Play of the Year was awarded to Best of Enemies, James Graham’s fictionalised retelling of the 1968 US political TV debates between William F Buckley and Gore Vidal. Stars Zachary Quinto and David Harewood joined Graham in accepting the award.

Pearl Cleage’s Blues For An Alabama Sky won Lynette Linton the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director, presented by Josie Rourke and Martha Plimpton. Nica Burns, co-owner of the Nimax Theatres group, accepted a Special Award in recognition of her support of London theatre during the pandemic.

One of the first producers to reopen playhouses in a time of critical uncertainty, Burns also launched @sohoplace, the West End’s first new purpose-built theatre in 50 years this summer.

The Winners

Best Actor James McAvoy, Cyrano de Bergerac

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress Jodie Comer, Prima Facie

Best Play Best of Enemies by James Graham

Milton Shulman Award for Best Director Lynette Linton, Blues for an Alabama Sky

Best Musical Oklahoma!

Best Musical Performance Patrick Vaill, Oklahoma!

Best Design Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright Tyrell Williams, Red Pitch

Emerging Talent Award Isobel McArthur, Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of)

Special Awards Nica Burns and Dame Vanessa Redgrave for their outstanding contribution to London theatre

The second Special Award of the evening went to stage legend Dame Vanessa Redgrave, one of the strongest campaigners for financial support to the arts during lockdown.

Tom Scutt was awarded Best Design for his inventive Cabaret set at the Playhouse Theatre, while Isobel McArthur was presented with the Emerging Talent Award for Pride & Prejudice*(*sort of), her pop music-inspired adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Red Pitch, a coming-of-age story about gentrification and community, earned Tyrell Williams the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright.

The award comes with a generous donation from Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, artistic director and global content adviser of Condé Nast.

Lord Lebedev said: “I am delighted to celebrate the best of London theatre together with the talented writers, actors, directors and producers who brought the West End back to life.

“I am also glad to rekindle one of the paper’s greatest traditions, one I have sorely missed these past pandemic years.”

The awards, which considered productions on the London stage between May 20 last year and October 13 this year, were the first held since 2019 due to the pandemic.