Nicole Kidman has won the best actress prize at the prestigious London Evening Standard theatre awards for her portrayal of overlooked DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin in Photograph 51.
Speaking before the ceremony to celebrate the best of British acting, she said: “I kind of jumped into it without realising how much I was taking on so halfway through the rehearsals I got real stage fright.
“To be standing here today is extraordinary and I am so so glad that I did it.
“I did it for my father, who was a scientist – he has been orbiting around this whole thing – and also for Rosalind, who was not recognised in her lifetime. That has been very very important to me.
“Photograph 51 was written by a female playwright about a female scientist so to be able to champion that was an honour and a privilege.”
James McAvoy won the best actor accolade for his role in The Ruling Class – beating competition from Simon Russell Beale for his performance in Temple, Kenneth Cranham for The Father and Ralph Fiennes for Man And Superman.
Imelda Staunton received a standing ovation after she won best musical performance for Gypsy and performed the song Everything’s Coming Up Roses from the musical.
Gemma Arterton won the newcomer in a musical award for her musical debut in Made In Dagenham, while Vanessa Redgrave received the editor’s award, which was presented to her by Ralph Fiennes and her daughter Joely Richardson.
The award for best play went to The Motherf**ker With The Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Robert Icke won best director for Oresteia.
The emerging talent award was won by David Moorst for his role in Violence And Son, while Molly Davies received the most promising playwright award for God Bless The Child.
The ceremony at the Old Vic in London was co-hosted by Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen.
Dame Judi, who is currently starring alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre, said: “These awards are very important. I think our country is wonderful and theatre particularly, and it is lovely that these things happen.”
Sir Ian, who has been in Los Angeles on the campaign trail for his new film, Mr Holmes, said: “This is a celebration and it is lovely. In fact, every night of the year is a celebration of theatre when the crowds come out.”
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