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Evening Standard Theatre Awards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in London theatre
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byEvening Standard
First awarded1955; 66 years ago (1955)
Last awarded2019

The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955,[1] are the oldest theatrical awards ceremony in the United Kingdom. They are presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre, and are organised by the Evening Standard newspaper. They are the West End's equivalent to Broadway's Drama Desk Awards.[2][3]

Hosted by The Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev and co-hosted by Anna Wintour, the much celebrated theatre awards remain The Evening Standard's signature event. It is the first major awards ceremony within the events calendar every year and attracts A-list celebrities along with the movers and shakers from the theatre world.


The trophies take the form of a modelled statuette, a figure representing Drama, designed by Frank Dobson RA, a former Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art.


Three of the awards are given in the names of former Evening Standard notables:

  • Arts editor Sydney Edwards (who conceived the awards, and died suddenly in July 1979) for the Best Director category.
  • Editor Charles Wintour (who as deputy-editor in 1955, launched the awards after a nod from the proprietor, Lord Beaverbrook') for Most Promising Playwright.
  • Long-serving theatre critic Milton Shulman (for several years a key member of the judging panel) for the Outstanding Newcomer award.

In 2009 The Special Award was given in the name of Evgeny Lebedev, executive director of the Evening Standard.

In 1980, noting the first use of the Special Award category, Shulman observed that "In 1968 the judges felt that Alan Bennett's work Forty Years On did not fit either the category of a Play or a Musical. But since they liked it so much they gave him the coveted Dobson statuette as a Special Award. In a quarter of a century, only in 1968 had no-one been designated as 'Promising' although it could conceivably be argued that Alan Bennett's Special Award was a reasonable substitute for this category."[4]

The Special Awards process came to a climax in 2004 when, in the 50th anniversary year, the category was used to signal peaks of accomplishment by the National Theatre (an institution), Harold Pinter (a playwright) and Dame Judi Dench (a performer).

The Patricia Rothermere Award, presented biennially from 1999 to 2005 recognised those who had given outstanding support to young actors. There was also a three-year scholarship award for a drama student. Lady Rothermere is the wife of Lord Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust, former owners of the Evening Standard.

Commencing in 2007, the award for Best Musical was renamed The Ned Sherrin Award, in memory of the entertainer and raconteur, for many years the witty compere of the Evening Standard Awards ceremony.

The Best Actress award is now named in tribute to Natasha Richardson, who died after a skiing accident in Quebec in March 2009.[5]

Awards ceremonies

The 2007 Awards lunchtime ceremony took place at the Savoy Hotel in London on 27 November 2007.[6] The judges' assessments of the winners are online.[7]

The 2008 winners were announced in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 24 November 2008.[8] The judges' assessments are online.[9]

The 2009 winners were announced in a ceremony, again at the Royal Opera House, on Monday, 23 November 2009.[10] The judges' assessments are online.[11]

The 2010 winners were announced at a celebratory evening ceremony on Thursday 28 November 2010 in the newly refurbished Savoy Hotel.[12]

The 2011 winners were announced in a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel on 20 November 2011.

The 2012 winners were announced in a ceremony again at the Savoy Hotel on 25 November 2012.

The 2013 winners were announced in a ceremony again at the Savoy Hotel on 17 November 2013.

The 2014 winners were announced in a ceremony at the London Palladium on 30 November 2014.

The 2015 winners were announced in a ceremony at the Old Vic Theatre on 22 November 2015.

The 2016 winners were announced in a ceremony again at the Old Vic Theatre on 13 November 2016.

The 2017 winners were announced in a ceremony at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 3 December 2017.

The 2018 winners were announced in a ceremony again at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 18 November 2018.

The 2019 winners were announced in a ceremony at the London Coliseum on 24 November 2019.

Awards by year

  • 2015 – 2014 – 2013 – 201220112010
  • 20092008 – 2007 – 2006 – 2005 – 2004 – 2003 – 2002 – 2001 – 2000
  • 1999 – 1998 – 1997 – 1996 – 1995 – 1994 – 1993 – 1992 – 1991 – 1990
  • 1989 – 1988 – 1987 – 1986 – 1985 – 1984 – 1983 – 1982 – 1981 – 1980

Winners 1955–2019

Best Play

Best Director

Also known as The Sydney Edwards Award for Best Director from 1979. Renamed the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director from 2014.

Best Actor

Best Actress

Also known as The Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress from 2009

Best Musical

Renamed the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical in 2007

Best Musical Performance

Best Designer

Best Comedy

Most Controversial Play

Editor's Award (renamed 'for a Shooting Star' in 2010)

Most Promising Playwright

Also known as the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright

Outstanding Newcomer

Also known as the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer

Note: Category ceased but is re-styled as the Emerging Talent Award (see below)

Theatrical Achievement

Patricia Rothermere Award

The Special Award (given as The Lebedev Special Award in 2009)

Theatre Icon Award

Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull

Beyond Theatre award

Emerging Talent

Award For Comedy

Best Revival of the Year

See also


  • Celebration: 25 Years of British Theatre. W. H. Allen Ltd, 1980. ISBN 0-491-02770-2, for Awards 1955–1978
  • Theatre Record and its annual Indexes, for Awards 1981 to date.[19][20]


  1. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (25 November 2012). "Olympics Opening Ceremony honoured at Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Press Release:Glenn Close wins the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Sunset Boulevard" (PDF). Gate Ventures PLC. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  3. ^ BWW News Desk (22 November 2015). "Imelda Staunton, Nicole Kidman, and More Lead Evening Standard Theatre Award Winners- Full List!". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  4. ^ Celebration: 25 Years of British Theatre
  5. ^ Louise Jury (2009-11-02). "The Standard Theatre Awards 2009: Longlist revealed – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  6. ^ "Macbeth and Joan of Arc storm ES awards – News – London Evening Standard". 2007-11-27. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  7. ^ "Winning performances on the West End stage – News – London Evening Standard". 2007-11-28. Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  8. ^ "Donmar dominates the London stage at ES Theatre Awards – News – London Evening Standard". 2008-11-24. Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  9. ^ "A winning year for leading lights of the London stage – News – London Evening Standard". 2008-11-25. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  10. ^ Louise Jury (2009-11-23). "It's a Royal flush at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards – News – London Evening Standard". Archived from the original on 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  11. ^ "Winners of Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2009 – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". 2009-11-24. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  12. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards celebrate a year of high emotion on stage – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". 2010-11-29. Archived from the original on 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  13. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Award judges on how they chose the winners". Evening Standard. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016: Who won and why". Evening Standard. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards: Who won and why". Evening Standard. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  16. ^ "EVENING STANDARD THEATRE AWARDS – Most Promising Playwright Winners, 1956 to present | London Theatre". 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  17. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (13 October 2001). "Q & A Matthew Rhys". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Award winning actress Maggie Smith hopes to return to the stage". Playbill. Retrieved 6 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Heavyweights of the stage battle for best actor prize – News – London Evening Standard". 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  20. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2007: the longlist – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
This page was last edited on 3 August 2021, at 19:52
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