Page last updated at 22:14 GMT, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Mountaintop takes Laurence Olivier Awards honours

Katori Hall explains the inspirations behind her play

US playwright Katori Hall has triumphed at the Laurence Olivier Awards, winning best new play for The Mountaintop.

The play, about the final hours of US civil rights activist Martin Luther King, beat Enron, Jerusalem and Red to take the honours.

Hall, 28, is the first black female playwright to win the award.

Rachel Weisz took the best actress honours for A Streetcar Named Desire, while Mark Rylance won best actor for his role in Jerusalem.

Speaking to the BBC, Hall said it was "an absolute honour" to win the award.

Rupert Goold won best director for Enron, Wicked picked up the audience award, and musical Spring Awakening took home four honours.

The cult hit, based on Wedekind's play, won best new musical, best sound design for its run at the Novello Theatre and best actor in a musical and supporting honours for young Welsh actors Aneurin Barnard and Iwen Rheon.

The London theatre is a shining light in the continuing recessionary gloom
Nica Burns, SOLT

The 34th Laurence Olivier Awards were held at Grosvenor House in London on Sunday.

Nica Burns, Society of London Theatre (SOLT) president, said: "The Olivier Awards reflect a year of outstanding creativity and production excellence which brought the public rushing to the theatre, taking box office and attendance records to an all-time high.

"The London theatre is a shining light in the continuing recessionary gloom - something we can all be proud of."

Strong year

Weisz's co-star, Ruth Wilson, won best supporting actress for her performance as Stella, while Eddie Redmayne won best supporting actor for Red. He is currently reprising his role for the Broadway run of the show.

Weisz among top Olivier Award winners

Last year was described as "particularly strong" for theatre revivals by award organisers.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof beat A Streetcar Named Desire, A View From The Bridge and The Misanthrope, Arcadia and Three Days of Rain to the best revival award, and Hello Dolly! took the honours for best musical revival.

Samantha Spiro won the best actress in a musical for the show from the Open Air Theatre.

In other honours, The Priory, by Michael Wynne, won best new comedy, and Tristan und Isolde won best new opera production for the Royal Opera House.

Full list of winners:

Best actress - Rachel Weisz (A Streetcar Named Desire)

Best actor - Mark Rylance (Jerusalem)

Best actress in a supporting role - Ruth Wilson (A Streetcar Named Desire)

Best actor in a supporting role - Eddie Redmayne (Red)

Best new play - The Mountaintop (by Katori Hall)

Best new comedy - The Priory (by Michael Wynne)

Best musical revival - Hello Dolly!

Best new musical - Spring Awakening

Best entertainment - Morecambe

Best actress (musical or entertainment) - Samantha Spiro (Hello Dolly!)

Best actor (musical or entertainment) - Aneurin Barnard (Spring Awakening)

Best supporting performance (musical or entertainment) - Iwan Rheon (Spring Awakening)

Best director - Rupert Goold (Enron) ENRON at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noel Coward

Best revival - Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (directed by Debbie Allen)

Best theatre choreographer - Stephen Mear (Hello Dolly!)

Best lighting design - Burnt By The Sun (Mark Henderson)

Best set design - Jerusalem (designed by Ultz)

Best costume design - Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner)

Best set design - Spring Awakening (Brian Ronan)

Audience award - Wicked

Best new opera - Tristan und Isolde (Royal Opera)

Outstanding achievement (opera) - Nina Stemme (Tristan und Isolde)

Best new dance - Goldberg: The Brandstrup Rojo Project

Outstanding achievement (dance) - Rambert Dance Company

Outstanding achievement (affiliate theatre) - The Royal Court for Cock

Outstanding achievement award - Michael Codron

SOLT Special Award - Dame Maggie Smith



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