Evening Standard Theatre Awards

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Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Awarded for Outstanding achievements in London theatre
Location London
Country United Kingdom
Presented by Evening Standard
First awarded 1955; 63 years ago (1955)
Last awarded 2017

The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955 [1], are the oldest theatrical awards ceremony in the United Kingdom [2]. They presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre. Sponsored by the Evening Standard newspaper, they are announced in late November or early December.


The trophies take the form of a strongly modelled statuette, a somewhat Grecian 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 then 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."[3]

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.[4]

Awards ceremonies[edit]

The 2007 Awards lunchtime ceremony took place at the Savoy Hotel in London on 27 November 2007.[5] The judges' assessments of the winners are online.[6]

The 2008 winners were announced in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 24 November 2008.[7] The judges' assessments are onlnie.[8]

The 2009 winners were announced in a ceremony, again at the Royal Opera House, on Monday, 23 November 2009.[9] The judges' assessments are onlnie.[10]

The 2010 award winners were announced at a celebratory evening ceremony on Thursday 28 November 2010 in the newly refurbished Savoy Hotel. The judges' assessments are onlnie.[11]

The 2011 short list is online.[12]

Awards by year[edit]

Winners 1955–2017[edit]

Best Play[edit]

Best Actor[edit]

Best Actress[edit]

Renamed in 2009 as The Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress

Best Musical[edit]

Renamed the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical in 2007

Best Designer[edit]

Best Comedy[edit]

Most Controversial Play[edit]

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

Best Director[edit]

Also known as The Sydney Edwards Award for Best Director from 1979

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright[edit]

The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer[edit]

Theatrical Achievement[edit]

Patricia Rothermere Award[edit]

The Special Award (given as The Lebedev Special Award in 2009)[edit]

Theatre Icon Award[edit]

Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull[edit]

Beyond Theatre award[edit]

Emerging Talent[edit]

Best Musical Performance[edit]

Award For Comedy[edit]

Best Revival[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (25 November 2012). "Olympics Opening Ceremony honoured at Evening Standard Theatre Awards". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  2. ^ Smith, Alistair (26 November 2015). "Have the Evening Standard awards lost their way? | Opinion | The Stage". The Stage. 
  3. ^ Celebration: 25 Years of British Theatre
  4. ^ Louise Jury (2009-11-02). "The Standard Theatre Awards 2009: Longlist revealed – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  5. ^ "Macbeth and Joan of Arc storm ES awards – News – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2007-11-27. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  6. ^ "Winning performances on the West End stage – News – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2007-11-28. Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  7. ^ "Donmar dominates the London stage at ES Theatre Awards – News – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2008-11-24. Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  8. ^ "A winning year for leading lights of the London stage – News – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2008-11-25. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  9. ^ Louise Jury (2009-11-23). "It's a Royal flush at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards – News – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  10. ^ "Winners of Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2009 – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2009-11-24. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  11. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards celebrate a year of high emotion on stage – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. 2010-11-29. Archived from the original on 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  12. ^ "The British Theatre Guide: Evening Standard Short List". Britishtheatreguide.info. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  13. ^ "EVENING STANDARD THEATRE AWARDS – Most Promising Playwright Winners, 1956 to present | London Theatre". Westendtheatre.com. 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  14. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (13 October 2001). "Q & A Matthew Rhys". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Award winning actress Maggie Smith hopes to return to the stage". Playbill. Retrieved 6 July 2017. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Heavyweights of the stage battle for best actor prize – News – London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  17. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2007: the longlist – Theatre – Going Out – London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2013-11-16.